Wensleydale Show goes ahead online despite Covid-19

Sheep judging at the 2019 Wensleydale Show. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

Organisers of the Wensleydale Show have vowed not to be beaten by the Covid-19 pandemic and have announced they will hold a unique online show this year instead.

Wensleydale Agricultural Society, which runs the event held annually in Leyburn on the last Saturday of August, hopes the virtual event will help people learn new skills and put their spare time to good use while the area recovers from the pandemic, while also continuing the show’s  tradition of promoting agriculture and nurturing the next generation of farmers.

The online event — to take place at www.wensleydaleshowonline.co.uk — will feature 66 classes across 11 sections, including favourites such as sheep, cattle, handicrafts, novelty, horses, cookery, vintage vehicles and young handlers.

Participants will be asked to submit photos and videos of their entries.

The classes will be judged by invited guests. Entries should be submitted online before August 10.

The shortlisted entries in each class will then be displayed on the website ahead of show day on Saturday, August 29.

Participants will also be able to view the judges and gain an insight into what they will be looking for.

The winners will be announced on show day at 9am.

Organisers have also tried to recreate the thrill of show day with an entertainment page where viewers can enjoy some of the previous years’ main ring entertainment.

There will also be a tantalising sneak preview of the main ring act booked for the 2021 show, as well as a virtual unveiling of the committee members explaining all that is good about the show.

“You will see them in a way you have never seen before and are never likely to see again,” added show chairman Kenton Foster.

The champions of each of the 11 sections will be awarded a £100 prize.

The other winners will receive prize cards.

The virtual audience can also go online during show weekend to vote for the People’s Champion of Champions from the class winners, with the winner announced on August 31.

Kenton said: “From humble beginnings and a steely determination that the show must go on, Wensleydale Agricultural Society is delighted with how the event is shaping up.

“There is something for everyone, whether it is entering stock or produce, learning about new things within the show, pitting your wits against the best experts in the country to judge, or just viewing  the show in a different light from the comfort of your own home over the August Bank Holiday weekend.”

He added: “It has only been possible by the use of Zoom meetings to keep the committee informed and capture everyone’s ideas and perhaps more importantly by the generosity of sponsors who have funded the website creation and marketing of the event as well as the all-important championship  prizes.

“We hope that our sponsors will be supported by the public, and that our promotion of beautiful Wensleydale and all the good things it has to offer and the wider region,  brings them increased trade and boosts our local rural economy.”

Jonathan Barker, manager of the Co-op in Leyburn and one of the judges, said he was delighted that the store was the headline sponsor.

“For me the show holds such memories. It’s always been part of our summer here in Leyburn and I’m delighted that the society has overcome the adversity and found a new innovative way around it, even to the extent of creating our sponsors’ class.”

The other sponsors include Aysgarth Lodges, Brymor Ice Cream, Ripon Farm Services, Robin Jessop, Leyburn Auction Mart, Jamesons Feeds, Tim Gibson Ltd, Iveson Steel Products and Bishopton Vets.

Download the schedule and visit the constantly evolving website at www.wensleydaleshowonline.co.uk

Key dates:

  • Wensleydale show online entries close o August 10
  • Shortlisted entries available on website from August 14
  • Wensleydale show online class and section winners announced on show day August 29
  • Voting by public for People’s Champion of Champions 9am on August 29 to 12noon on August 31