For the first time ever there will be a new team competition, with three participants competing for each team; one preparing the show animal, one stock judging and one showing. “This team event will give the up and coming generation the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and introduce them to friendly yet competitive world of livestock showing,” says Head of Shows Alan Lyons.
Sparsholt College in Hampshire has entered two teams – the under 18 group comprises Ella Robinson, Eleanor Boakes and Megan Harmon, while the over 18 team features James Noyce, Zoe Kingham and Emily Smith. “For some, it’s their second year of showing, while other are complete novices,” says Kate Robinson, herd manager at the college farm, which has 120 dairy cows, 180 beef animals, 250 ewes, 1200 pigs and 400 acres of arable land.
“They work hard on the farm and it’s good to see the other side of the industry,” she adds. “With the milk price as depressed as it is, this will show them more positivity: There are jobs out there so it’s good for them to get out and meet people.”
The students have been learning about genomics and breeding, helping them to select the best show calves from the herd. “We’ve also taught them about halter training, bathing, clipping, and showmanship – showing is hard work so it’s a good discipline to acquire,” says Miss Robinson. “They’re all really excited and a bit nervous – but everyone has to start somewhere.”
The show has also introduced more classes for exhibitors to enter, including commercial beef steers on the hoof, providing more chances to win as well as offering more prize money. For the first time livestock classes will be held on every day of the four-day show, with the Grand Parade now being held on Saturday as well as Thursday and Friday, says Mr Lyons. “This offers an opportunity for our 130,000 visitors to be treated to a display of all the winners and for exhibitors to show off their prize winning animals.”
- The Royal Bath and West Show takes place from 1-4 June, 2016, at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Advance saver tickets are available until 31 May 2016 at £19 for an adult including two children admitted free, £5 for additional child. Gate prices are £22 adult, £7 child and £49 family. Visit www.bathandwest.com to order.