A look ahead to the 2019 Great Yorkshire Show

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 May 2019

Show director Charles Mills launches the 2019 Great Yorkshire Show with ‘sporting soprano’ Lizzie Jones and sculptor Emma Stothard at Blockley’s farm near Bradford

Show director Charles Mills launches the 2019 Great Yorkshire Show with 'sporting soprano' Lizzie Jones and sculptor Emma Stothard at Blockley's farm near Bradford

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What's new at this year's Great Yorkshire Show? Let's take a cluck, says Jo Haywood

Crowds flock to the Great Yorkshire Showground for a proper county day outCrowds flock to the Great Yorkshire Showground for a proper county day out

You've got to give the Great Yorkshire Show hen out of ten for effort. While most country shows make do with a few posters and social media posts, it's publicising its 161st event with a giant chicken-related sculpture.

The organisers are teasing us with a multi-venue tour featuring a smaller hen before Whitby willow artist Emma Stothard finally reveals her monumental bird-based installation on the President's Lawn at this year's show, which runs from July 9th-11th.

This isn't the first time she's worked with GYS - she created the stunning Craven Heifer in 2018 - but this year's artwork is extra special as it celebrates the tenth anniversary of Fodder, the all-year-round farm shop and café based at the Great Yorkshire Showground, and is modelled on the hens at Ian Taylor's farm, which has supplied the shop with eggs since it opened in 2009.

If you spot the hen on your travels - it'll be squawking the squawk at Sledmere House, Harewood House, Cannon Hall Farm and Fodder - make sure you post a selfie using #Fodder10Hen to be in with a chance of winning a family ticket, worth £75, to the show.

The GYS is a royal favourite, with Princess Anne popping in last year to celebrate its 160th anniversaryThe GYS is a royal favourite, with Princess Anne popping in last year to celebrate its 160th anniversary

Show director Charles Mills was joined by 'sporting soprano' Lizzie Jones, who will perform every day in the main ring, and sculptor Emma Stothard to officially launch the 161st Great Yorkshire Show at Blockley's family farm near Bradford.

'We're delighted to be here as they are longstanding exhibitors at the show, which will this year host the Longhorn Cattle Society's National Competition for the first time,' he said.

David and Angela Blockley have been breeding Longhorns since 1991 and now have 60 head of cattle.

'Our first outing with the Longhorns to the Great Yorkshire Show was in 1994, and we have exhibited every year since,' said David. 'Over the years, we've won 11 breed championships but competition is always strong at GYS, with exhibitors coming from all over the country. We'll be doing our best again this time to try to win on home turf.'

The scurrying class is a firm favourite with families (well, who doesn’t love a teeny-tiny horse?)The scurrying class is a firm favourite with families (well, who doesn’t love a teeny-tiny horse?)

The GYS is also hosting the UK Beef Shorthorn Championships and the National Charolais Show.

'The show is a shop window for some of the finest cattle in the country,' said chief cattle steward Margaret Chapman. 'This year we will have 19 different pedigree breeds plus commercial cattle.'

The Grand Cattle Parade is always a main ring highlight and, this year, includes the final judging of the Blythewood Pairs, a renowned accolade for any breed society, while the Cock o'the North competition - one of the most prestigious show-jumping classes in the country - will draw the crowds as a hard-fought grand finale on the last day.

Also in the main ring will be the motorbike stunt riding team, The Bolddog Lings, managed by one of Europe's top freestyle motocross riders, Dan Whitby. The team uses one of the world's largest and most sophisticated FMX ramps, sending riders flying 35ft into the air.

The Grand Cattle Parade fills the main ring every year (no, really, these beasties fill it)

The Grand Cattle Parade fills the main ring every year (no, really, these beasties fill it)

Halifax-based Lizzie Jones, who made history last year when she became the first singer to perform in the main ring during the GYS, is back again, adding yet more to her to-do list by strutting her stuff on the Kuoni Catwalk in the refurbished fashion pavilion alongside a host of celebrities.

'I couldn't be more thrilled to perform again in the main ring,' she said. 'Last year, the show blew me away with how much there was to see and do. I'm sure this year will be no exception.'

Thousands of animals, from cattle and sheep to pigs and pigeons, will be competing in the surrounding judging rings; cutting-edge farming equipment and big name machinery will be on display; popular chef and TV personality Rosemary Shrager will be rattling pots and, very probably, pans in the cookery theatre; there will be stalls aplenty selling everything you can possibly imagine (and one of two things you've never even thought of); and lots of live music and family entertainment.

Suddenly, three days just doesn't seem long enough, does it? 

THE GREAT YORKSHRE SHOW IN NUMBERS

More than 130,000 visitors and 8,500 animals are expected to drive, stroll, trot, scamper, galumph and flutter to the Great Yorkshire Showground for the year's GYS.

The annual cost of staging the show is around £3.4m.

When show records began in 1842, the attendance was 6,044. The show record was set in 2006 with a staggering 135,111 visitors.

Around 260 judges hand out 598 championship awards and prizes and 272 trophies and cups.

Around 45,500 cars are parked (some better than others) over the three days of the show.

While the livestock use up 125 tonnes of straw, visitors make their way through 300 litres of Yorkshire milk, 1,280 punnets of Yorkshire strawberries, 1,200 loaves of bread (in 4,887 rounds of sarnies), 10,000 Taylor's tea bags, 2,200 scones, 40 Victoria sponge cakes, 220kg of bacon, 400kg of sausages and 2,112 glasses of Pimm's.

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