Another fantastic Royal Welsh Show has all too quickly drawn to a close.
After more than 12 months of planning, the last four days have gone by in a flash.
Once again the show has seen crowds of happy show-goers converge in their thousands from across the globe at the showground in Llanelwedd to celebrate the very best of Welsh and British agriculture.
This show saw a mixture of beautiful summer sunshine and showers, creating a perfect mix of show weather.
The competitions, as always saw a very high standard of entries across the board. It is often said that the livestock exhibits at the Royal Welsh Show are a display of some of the finest animals in Europe and this year was no exception.
The impressive Natwest team of five for beef breeds is always a hotly contested competition and one of the highlights of the show.
We remain forever in awe at the quality of exhibits shown here, at the Royal Welsh Show each year. This year, once again, we are honoured to have a selection of some of the most beautiful and impressive livestock seen anywhere in Europe.Harry Fetherstonhaugh, Honorary show director
This year the judge, 2016 president Richard Jones, had an extremely difficult task selecting the best team from a remarkable ring full on animals, but finally made the decision that the Charolais team pipped the others to the post.
The dairy breeds also made for a striking view in the ring during the show. The Marks and Spencer team of five was won by an impeccable team of Holsteins from Wales.
Meanwhile, around the main ring, spectators were treated to an exciting four-days of incredible horse classes, all culminating in the Thursday afternoon competition for the sought after title of Royal Welsh supreme horse champion, judged by the renowned race horse trainer, Mr Nicki Henderson.
This year’s winner was an in-hand sports horse called Triple Crown, owned by Martin Wood from Newmarket, Suffolk.
Having watched the final grand parade in the main ring this afternoon, honorary show director, Harry Fetherstonhaugh, said: “We remain forever in awe at the quality of exhibits shown here, at the Royal Welsh Show each year. This year, once again, we are honoured to have a selection of some of the most beautiful and impressive livestock seen anywhere in Europe.”
However, it is not just in the judging rings that the Royal Welsh accolades are awarded.
As in other years, each day sees an array of special medals and prizes presented to worthy winners from across the agricultural sector.
This year, the coveted Royal Welsh Gold Medal was awarded for the first time since 2013 to the cair of council, Mr David Lewis.
On receiving his surprise award, David Lewis remarked: “I have been on every committee in relation to the show over the years and there was no talk about a gold award. I had no idea.
“Not many people have been given such a prestigious honour, and I have always admired those who have been presented with them in the past. I can hardly believe that I am considered to be in the same category as them… I don’t know what to say.”
The logistics of holding on of the most prestigious agricultural shows in Europe are not straight forward.
A large army of staff and incredible volunteers work tirelessly all year round to ensure our visitors are not disappointed when they walk through the gates.
With the volume of people attending each day the army of stewards are like a well-oiled machine making sure all the park and ride services worked efficiently, the competitions run smoothly and the showground is kept looking its best during the week.
“It is a great credit to the society that we have such dedicate and hardworking staff and stewards,” said chief executive, Steve Hughson.
“A show of this magnitude doesn’t just happen, and I am immensely proud of the Royal Welsh Team for making this one of the best events of its kind.
“Our feature county structure, the advisory groups and the volunteer stewards are part of the gold-dust that makes our event so special. We are really proud of our reputation as the ‘peoples show’ – ‘show y bobl’.”
It has been very clear this year that the event is far more than ‘just a show’.
With an increasing number of visitors coming from a non-agricultural background, the show plays a large part in engaging directly with the public and acting as a shop window for Welsh produce.
Show organisers are also delighted with the support and additional coverage from media partners.
During his address in the opening ceremony, First Minister Carwyn Jones expressed his esteem of the event and went on to explain that he believes the reason the Royal Welsh Show has remained so successful is due to its ability to have broadened its appeal over the years, whilst remaining true to its core traditions.
Perfectly placed to act as a platform for decisions makers to come together from across the nation, the show and the society plays a large role in facilitating discussions which will shape the future of Welsh agriculture and the rural economy.
“Facing the impending withdrawal from the European Union, the pace of change and demands upon the industry will accelerate. However, the industry has demonstrated its ability to innovate and adapt in the past, demonstrating its resilience.” says John Davies, chair of the board of directors
“This time will be no different.
“However, in these uncertain and changing times, collaborative working to ensure we support the need for Welsh produce to have maximum access to both existing and emerging export markets is essential.”
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society continues to go from strength to strength and actively embrace the need to adopt new ideas and move with the times in a way that respects traditional values.