It was a record-breaking weekend at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s annual autumn showcase of food, farming and equestrian talent, as the presence of its headline acts saw visitor numbers soar by 25 per cent.
A mixture of wet and blustery moments courtesy of Storm Brian may have cast doubt over just how much the Society would capitalise on the partnership with Channel 5 at the renamed Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live but the figures speak for themselves as an all-time show high of 15,004 people turned out.
The weather claimed the senior Northern Show Cross Finals as a casualty owing to safety concerns over sodden ground, with the contest’s postponement coming after the junior classes finished on Saturday, but the archery exhibit was the only other to be cancelled - this time because of strong winds.
The Society was sure that welcoming The Yorkshire Vet as part of the event would pay dividends after a hugely popular appearance of its co-stars at the Great Yorkshire Show, and its confidence proved well founded.
Charles Mills, the Society’s show director, said: “It is great to see increased numbers of people here, especially as the weather has been challenging.
“The new features went extremely well, not least The Yorkshire Vet and this weekend has underlined how popular they are.”
Society chief executive Nigel Pulling added: “They had a full-on two days and they rose to the challenge and put on a fantastic show.”
Asked whether the vets would be returning next year, Mr Pulling said: “It’s too early to say. It’s up to the vets. If they want to do it next year we would want them back on but we need to talk to them first. They appeared to enjoy themselves and they appeared to be very popular so we hope so.”
Mr Mills hailed the pulling power of the vets, adding: “They can bring more people to the event and therefore we can try and get our message across to a wider number of people.
“And what those people are also seeing are some of the best cattle and some of the best sheep you will see anywhere. It’s really a quality event with some of the best livestock judges around, and people have come with their animals from as far away as Devon and Wales.”
As well as a record attendance, the show also enjoyed an all-time high of more than 450 equine entries.
Reflecting on the show overall, Mr Pulling said: “We’re very happy with the content and how it went operationally. The ground was a bit soft which gave us some challenges but, typical British, typical Yorkshire, we got on with it. The feedback from visitors and exhibitors was very positive and that’s what counts as far as we are concerned.”
Mr Mills echoed those sentiments but added: “That doesn’t mean we won’t keep working hard to make it even better.”