Sunshine and smiles at historic Otley Show

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Baking heat made for a great atmosphere at Otley Show as visitors descended on the event in their thousands at the start of an “exciting” year for the town.

Last summer’s Otley Show was waterlogged, but extra water was ferried onto the showground on Saturday to keep livestock well watered on what was the hottest day of the year to date.



The lake next to the show fields has always made for a pleasant backdrop, but this year it became a feature of the show itself, with Otley Sailing Club offering dinghy rides for visitors.

Onlookers were also treated to displays of the pick of local cattle, sheep, poultry, pigeons and waterfowl as they vied for rosettes from judges and there was a fine array of entertainment aimed at a wider audience.

In the main ring, six horse riders with the Stampede Stunt Company Display Team pulled off daring poses out of the saddle at speed and there was a birds of prey display by Ben Potter.

Otley Brass Band provided musical accompaniment, while ferret racing, tug of war and farriery competitions, equine contests and produce and handicraft competitions made for a varied programme.



Show chairman Jeff Crabtree was hopeful that attendance at the show’s 205th incarnation would challenge recent highs of around 20,000 people.

Mr Crabtree, who is stepping down after four years as chairman, said: “It’s the first show of the season and if Otley is a good one, it really gets those that show their livestock in the mood for the rest of the season. It’s the start of a great year ahead. The Tour de France passes through the town and it’s looking a more vibrant place to be.”

The show’s supreme sheep was a Teeswater hog in full wool presented by Andrew Fisher, of Pateley Bridge.

“I’m chuffed to bits,” he said. “I didn’t expect it. It’s been a kind winter after all the snow the year before. We’ve had a lot of rain but the sheep have thrived.”

John and Pat Varley of Queensbury, Bradford, showed two homebred Limousin heifers. It was the first time the animals had left their farm and they scooped an array of rosettes, including the supreme beef interbreed champion and champion pairs.

Mr Varley said: “This is the most nervous show we go to because we have no idea how they are going to behave. We can’t make these walk at home yet we come here and they are amazing.”

Robert and Elaine Butterfield of Bentham repeated their success of last year, taking a successive crown as supreme dairy champions.

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