Triumphant return of the incredible Gargrave Show
GARGRAVE Show made a triumphant return this weekend after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Magnificent heavy horses, cattle and sheep, and drop races for juniors and adults were among the attractions enjoyed by what are believed to be record crowds for many years at the 116th event held as usual in front of Eshton Hall.
There was also a staged costume contest, themed around the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, an egg throwing contest, a fun dog show and terrier races.
In the horticulture and agricultural products tent, there were walking sticks, baking and crafts, flowers and a bonsai display.
There was also an array of trading stalls, a fortune teller, beekeeping and ferret racing, as well as classic and vintage vehicles and tractors.
Yorkshire Water and Aire Rivers Trust plus new cars and tractors and a stand organized by CCM Auctions based in Skipton added to the attractions.
The biggest crowd was outside the beer tent with people seated in chairs watching the activities in the main arena and cheering on the runners home in the drop races.
The mounted disguise winner was ‘When Paddington Came to Tea’ with the Lambert Family of Embsay; Jack, six, as Queen, and William, four, as Paddington, with mum, Lucy. Ben Stancliffe, a Bearded Queen, and Jessica Stancliffe, a Beefeater, were runners-up.
Despite a less than favorable start to the day, the rain stayed away and there was a steady stream of people circling the show grounds.
The drop races started at noon with Nathan Lawson, from Shipley, winning the senior race atop Sharphaw and back. Antonio Cardinale, 71, of Otley AC, who competes every year, came last. The oldest contestant was Norman Bush, 82. This year’s route had to be adapted, to take account of the forestry work on the approach to Sharphaw, but unlike the last time the event took place in 2019, there was no need to reroute the route. a fast-flowing beck.
After a parade of vintage cars, the old tractors followed, with prizes awarded to restored and unrestored vehicles. Special prizes were also awarded to two vintage military vehicles, including a 1918 Royal Flying Corps vehicle originally used to tow aircraft.
The unrestored tractor winner, a 1937 Fordson in its original orange livery, had to be hand-started to get it out of the main arena.
Then there was the parade of heavy horses and champion cattle. The winner of Best Heavy Horse in Show was Matthew Woof with his two-year-old Shire mare, Marieth Mayflower. The 18-year-old filly, winner of the recent Trawden Show, was expected to grow another three inches, said Matthew’s dam, Jean, of Great Harwood.
Paul Clayton of Wyke won first prize for Shire brood mare with foal on foot and also best filly foal. It was the first outing for her eight-week-old Miss Evie, who had been steam cleaned with a pressure washer before being loaded onto the train car and set off for Gargrave.
John Wilson of Settle won the top bull award in the native cattle section with his beef shorthorn, Roderick. 16-month-old ‘Rodders’ had a fine temperament, he said, and was very calm, despite being the only bull in the parade, and would eventually be sold for breeding.
The fun dog show was so popular that organizers stopped taking entries and finals, including which dog the judge would most like to take home.
After the dog show, there were children’s sports, including flat races, three-legged races and sack races for different age groups.
Then there was the egg throwing contest involving eggs thrown and caught by pairs of competitors over an ever increasing distance.
The last event of the day was the terrier race, although some of the participants seemed more determined to fight each other than to chase the “hare”.
Towards the end of the show, the crowd was thanked for supporting the event and told how difficult it had been to get everyone together after a two-year hiatus.
Show chairman Paul Watson said he was very pleased with the event which he said could turn out to be a record attendance.
“I think it all went really well, it was a fantastic sight. The sun came out which always helps, and it was good to see so many people, people were telling me they didn’t have I’ve never seen the parking lot so full. I’m very, very happy with how it turned out.”
Susan Laneshaw, from Pateley Bridge, at the show with her family, said it was great to go to an agricultural show again after the pandemic.
“We were determined to come even though it was raining, and the day turned out to be very pleasant. It was such a friendly show, the animals are beautiful and the race was exciting. The kids really wanted to participate in the races and we are all looking forward to seeing what the egg toss is all about.
The Vicar of Gargrave, Reverend Andrew Steer, said: “Everyone is so delighted to be at such a wonderful celebration of local life. Kudos to the organizers and helpers for bringing back Gargrave Show.
For results and a separate report on fallen races, see the Craven Herald website