Next week will inevitably be a sad one for many people with long-term connections to the Royal Show. Not, of course, that I expect many tears to be shed.
It will though be a poignant reflection of the management of the show that it will close its doors in the same year as the Royal Highland has achieved record attendance numbers and the Royal Welsh has record livestock entries and is anticipating a huge crowd too.
Along with that the Great Yorkshire also has record stock numbers, backing its claim to be the best show in England – a title few could argue with.
But back the point. Next week is the last proper Royal Show, no matter what comes in its place – if anything – there will not be a Royal next year or at any point in the future according to RASE and that is a shame whichever way you look at it.
Admittedly to many people the practice of showing stock is an old fashioned and outdated way of assessing animals which does little to reflect their genetic potential. However, showing still has a massive role to play in educating the public about the best of British farming and teaching the stockmen of tomorrow the finer points of a structurally correct beast. As much as I’m a fan of performance recording no computer yet has been able to assess a sheep’s jaw or a bull’s locomotion.
So, as the industry mourns the passing of its former flagship event it must look to the future and be proud of the stock it still produces. It is no coincidence that many eastern European countries have looked to the UK in recent years for stock to improve productivity.
As for next week’s show Taking Stock will be there to bring you all the action from the judging rings and more than likely a little bit of the news from the bars too and with the Shorthorn Society hosting the Royal Wake Thursday night is set to be fair one I’d say!
If you see either myself or Tim rushing about to get results and pictures be sure to stop us, particularly if you’re offering a thirst quenching pint.