The English Winter Fair saw a significant boost in both entries and overall footfall compared the 2021 edition, with visitors witnessing one North Yorkshire family take home both the championship and reserve titles.
Beth Wilkinson, from Leyburn, was awarded the Birmingham Post Trophy for the Supreme Champion with Maggie, a 20-month-old Limousin cross heifer, while her brother Luke was named the Reserve Champion for his British Blue cross heifer Prime Suspect.
Ms Wilkinson took home £1,000 from sponsor Carter Jonas, while Mr Wilkinson won £500 from Agrii.
The award means that Maggie is a rare double winner, having been awarded first place in the baby beef championship at last year’s event.
There was also double success for Robert Garth and Sarah Priestley, from Lancashire, who claimed both the champion and reserve titles in the sheep ring with their Beltex animals.
K Watret from Annan, Scotland, won the 2022 National Pedigree Calf Show with Solway View Ria, a November 2021 born British Blue. The family won the top prize of £1,000 from sponsor Tithebarn, while the Reserve Champion was the Aberdeen Angus Morpheus Rosie from O Tunney in Cheshire, who won £500.
In the pig ring, there was debut success for Tom Dyas and Callum Smith from W Berry in Doncaster, who won the best pen prize with a pair of Pietrains. It was the first time they had shown live animals, having had previous success in the carcass hall, beating tough competition from veteran Mark Horsley, from Yorkshire, who was named the Reserve Champion.
Unique to the Fair is the carcass hall, which saw a 30% increase in entries over the last year. The chiller was packed with quality pig, lamb and cattle carcasses with gave judge Dave Morland, head butcher at Tebay Services, a tough task.
He said: “It was hard to separate some of the entries as the standard was very high. As a butcher, I’m always thinking about the end market for the product and that’s what farmers should be striving for so I was looking for carcasses which would produce cuts that appeal to the consumer.”
The champion cattle carcass went to TG and EM Hart from Monmouth, who presented a Hereford at a deadweight of 364kg, classified as an R4H. The winning lamb carcass was a 37.3kg Beltex, from DS and LE Wadland from Northamptonshire, and the pork carcass was won by ROA Johnson and E Hewitt from Derbyshire with an 85kg Pietrain cross.
The Royal Smithfield Club continued its association with the Fair by running a competition to find the best saddle of lamb and rib of beef. Perry’s of Eccleshall’s Limousin cross was selected in the beef class, while a Beltex saddle from M and C Morris took first prize in the lamb category.
In the ring, the Club’s Duke of Norfolk trophy was claimed by a trio of British Blues, with the Herefords in reserve.
Richard Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, which organises the show, said: “This year’s event was a tremendous success, evidenced by the quality and increased number of entries across the board.
“We welcomed thousands of visitors across the weekend – even more than we saw in 2021 – and they experienced a diverse range of competitions, culminating in the crowning of the Supreme Champion.
“The fair remains a hugely popular event attracting exhibitors and visitors from across the UK.”
Continuing its long tradition at the Fair, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust also held the final of its Young Shephard of the Year competition. In an all-Cumbria affair, 11-year-old Logan Tyson was crowned champion, with 13-year-old Zara Clough being named reserve champion.