'˜Country comes to town' at 178th Omagh Show

The 178th annual agricultural extravaganza hosted by Tyrone Farming Society which takes place on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July showcases a remarkable representation of all that is good in the agricultural sector and rural community and is the embodiment of '˜country comes to town'.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 25th June 2018, 8:28 am
Updated Monday, 25th June 2018, 8:34 am
Mr Thomas Harkin Chairman of Tyrone Farming Society with Mr Michael Colton Dillion Bass LTD Powers Whiskey and Mr Liam Mc Elhinney Function Manager at the Silverbirch Hotel Omagh, joint Sponsors of the 1.40 SJI National Grand Prix League on Friday at Omagh Show and Mr John Chambers BEM Director of Equestrian Events at Omagh Show.TFS-13
Mr Thomas Harkin Chairman of Tyrone Farming Society with Mr Michael Colton Dillion Bass LTD Powers Whiskey and Mr Liam Mc Elhinney Function Manager at the Silverbirch Hotel Omagh, joint Sponsors of the 1.40 SJI National Grand Prix League on Friday at Omagh Show and Mr John Chambers BEM Director of Equestrian Events at Omagh Show.TFS-13

Each year produces more and new events and 2018’s schedule offers a great variety of interesting choices for all the family to consider.

The equestrian section launches the show on Friday 6th July with horses to be found in all corners of the 20 acre grounds. There are four showing rings, two horse show jumping arenas, a pony jumping arena and working hunter arena for ponies and horses. The prize- fund of around £24,000 helps to attract some 1300 horses and riders, many of whom compete on the international circuit.

The all-weather sand warm-up arena is a useful enhancement to the two all weather grass horse arenas particularly in changeable Irish weather. Omagh boast a long history of hosting show jumping at the annual agricultural show when many famous household names vied against the local talent for the top places.

With competitions such as the TRM/HSI New Heights Champions Series, the SJI National Grand Prix, the McGinn Speed, TRM RDS Puissance Qualifier and the Ulster Region Summer Tour to name but a few, riders have huge opportunity to make for themselves a worthwhile journey from counties such as Kilkenny, Waterford, Galway and Wexford and beyond. The show has invaluable support from local horse enthusiasts as each year they spruce up their stables and play hosts to the long distance competitors and their horses.

The all-weather grass cattle arena is the ideal setting for the four showing rings on Friday where horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes are presented to the expert judges. This year new young talent have a similar opportunity to their counterparts in the cattle and sheep sections to show off their arena skills in presenting their special four legged friends to best advantage. There is growing support for the Working Hunter classes with their attractive prize fund and trophies and the variety of classes.

Across all sections the Show grows year on year. The relative young poultry section is progressing by leaps and bounds. The 112 classes on offer cater well for the many poultry enthusiasts and their vast array of birds. This year there are eight new classes for an ‘Exhibition Trio’ together with a new ‘Utility Breed’ class.

If you wish to learn about sheep breeds then Omagh on 7th July is the place to be with some 27 breeds and over 1,000 exhibits to view. Judges come from throughout the British Isles and it is no secret that Omagh exhibitors hold their own against the best the judges assess. The Beltex and Suffolk National Shows will this year be hosted by Omagh.

The dairy and beef cattle sections attract considerable interest and spectators marvel at how the huge muscular animals plod so meekly along beside their nonchalant young handlers. Omagh hosts the NI Hereford Breeders’ Club National Show this year. Activity in the cattle ring will culminate in the prestigious Parade of Prize Winners at around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s list of events include, of course, the livestock – cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, the Home Industries marquee exhibiting a wealth of local crafts, vegetables, flowers, photography and children’s work, and much more and the Dog Show, offering classes for all types of dogs. Classic and Vintage Vehicles will be on show all day. Show Jumping will be in full swing in three arenas. Novelty viewing will include the RDS Puissance Qualifier in Arena 1, which this year moves to the earlier noon slot.

The ‘One man and his Dog’ event will have Silverstream Sheepdogs demonstrate their duck herding skills. The Show’s selected charity, the Air Ambulance, plans to be on site throughout Saturday.

Pygmy Goats are always a big draw especially for the young and not so young. Spare a little time and lend support to the Junior Tug-of-War teams as they pitch their combined strength against the opposition.

If there are young family members they will not be disappointed if the goats, Corbally Fun Farm, the Stunning Bunnychins Roadshow, the Poultry exhibits and the Dog Show are on the ‘must see’ list.

Taking a break from viewing the wide variety of animals, the visitor can, according to taste, choose from a selection of food and refreshment outlets before touring around the many sights remaining including – home industries, school exhibits, fashion, trade stands, classic and vintage vehicles, crafts, flower arranging workshops, YFC activities, music and a full spectre of on-stage entertainment and much more.

Each year the Show committee members endeavour to improve and enhance their packed show programme. They are ably led by Chairman Thomas Harkin, Secretary Edwin Cartwright, ladies chairperson Jennifer Hawkes and other leading officers. They have for 2018 gone to great lengths to produce yet another fun-filled bumper programme.

Not only does Omagh Show strive to be even better in 2018 but it is also due for sunshine. With thousands of visitors continuing to make the farming festival the unmissable event in their calendar there is great optimism that the show grounds will transform into a hive of activity and a kaleidoscopic panorama of colour and sound.

Having so much choice to hand you should set aside a full day to relax and enjoy the wondrous spectacle that has arrived in Omagh and witness what can be achieved when a willing team of workers gets together.

What’s new at Omagh Show

National Shows for: Pedigree Hereford Cattle, Beltex Sheep, Suffolk Sheep

Air Ambulance Helicopter on Display, Classes for Valais Blacknose Sheep, Silverstream Sheep Dogs – Duck Herding, Corbally Fun Farm, Junior Showing of Ponies and Horses,

Livestock: Cattle - 101 classes, Dairy and Beef breeds, Native and Traditional and the Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders’ Club National Show.

Sheep - 180 classes, 27 breeds and Beltex and Suffolk National Shows.

Poultry - 112 classes and increased silverware

Goats – 15 Classes for pedigree, non-pedigree and pygmy goats

Equestrian: Friday - 37 Horse and Pony Show Jumping Events including, Boyd Bedding 4 YO Performance Class, Top Oil Ladies’ Championship Qualifier, SJI National Grand Prix Qualifier, Showing Classes - Irish Draught Horse, Connemara, Shetland, Hunter Horses and Cobs, Lead Rein, Show Pony, Race Horse to Riding Horse, Junior Handler, Working Hunter horse and pony classes with generous prize fund.

Saturday: TRM/HSI/SJI New Heights Champions Series Grand Prix - streamed live world-wide, TRI/RDS Puissance (The Great Wall), TRI Ulster Region Summer Tour Qualifiers, McGinn Speed Event, Agricultural Horses, The Pony Club, Jumps Ahead Qualifier and much more.

Trade Stands: Full quota of over 120 exhibitors, jewellery, home baking, needlecraft, chocolates, ice cream; cheese, jam, painting, ceramics, garden furniture, machinery, cars, tractors, ODC Cup for best stand.

Food hall: Sample the delights of home produce from our local producers and from those further afield.

Additional attractions: Barbecue, Junior Tug-of-war, Fashion Show, Vintage/Classic Vehicles and Machinery, Live Music and on-stage entertainment, Amusements, Dog Show, Home Industries, Schools’ Section, Children’s Zone, Face Painting, Corbally Fun Farm, The Stunning Bunnychins Roadshow

Free for: Children 11 and under, Car Parking, Shuttle Bus to and from Omagh Depot, On-site food and refreshments