ANTRIM Agricultural Society held a reception for their sponsors as part of the launch for this year's 102nd annual show to be held on Saturday, July 26 at Greenmount College grounds, Dublin Road, Antrim.
Preparations for this year's show officially kicked off at a sumptuous sponsors’ reception generously hosted by the Mayor of Antrim on a glorious evening in the beautiful surroundings of Shane's Castle Carriage Room, where the guests were able to savour a splendid supper prepared by Allen Park Restaurant, finished off perfectly with a delicious Hoy's Farmhouse Ice Cream.
Show Chairman, James Clements welcomed everyone and conveyed the society's thanks to Antrim Borough Council and all the sponsors, supporters and stewards present.
Linda Davis, Show Secretary in her show launch report, added the following: "We are greatly indebted to the council for their assistance both financial and practical through their long association with our Society.
"The Society extends sincere thanks to CAFRE as the society prepares for its 10th Show on Greenmount's excellent Dublin Road grounds.
"Without the support of our sponsors and supporters we as a show could not function. We hope the impressive array of awards and prizes made possible through our sponsors support will continue to attract many exhibitors to come and show their livestock, retaining our reputation as one of the top one-day agricultural events in the Province."
Antrim Show is delighted to host many varied championships and qualifiers, illustrating the high regard the show is held in. The Northern Ireland British Blue Club bring the final of their very successful Heifer Derby back again. Antrim is a qualifier for the Ulster Bank/NISA Pedigree Beef Cow Championship 2008 and the Tesco Rare Breeds Cattle Derby. Antrim is pleased to host for the first time a qualifier for the Semex Dairy Cow of the Year Competition. Points can also be accumulated at Antrim show in the Ayrshire, Blonde, British Blue, Jersey & Limousin sections.
The Champion Inter Breed Dairy Exhibitors will benefit from sponsorship from Northern Bank and Genus ABS. While Moores Animal Feeds look after the Heifer Championship, Semex NI supply the best pairs with vouchers and G E McLarnon & Sons Ltd finance the prizes for the top groups.
The Ayrshire Section benefits from generous sponsorship from John Thompson & Sons Ltd, Ulster Ayrshire Cattle Club and OB Construction. The Holstein classes are supported financially by United Feeds,Emerald Isle Recycle and OB Construction. The Champion Ayrshire & Holstein go home even happier thanks to Robert A Duncan & Co. who are again sponsoring a Pollocks standard brush. In the Jersey Section Thornton Roofing are providing cash prizes for the Champion & Reserve Jersey while the classes are sponsored by the Templeton Hotel.
AI Services are giving more exhibitors a bite at the cherry by offering vouchers to the Ayrshire, Holstein & Jersey exhibitors with the highest accumulated points in each of the Dairy breeds.
Beefing up the rewards in the Beef Section are Ulster Bank who generously sponsor the Supreme Pedigree Beef Champion. George Hamilton Machinery & Cattle Handling Equipment Specialists ensures that the winners in the Beef Stakes & Beef Heifer Derby go home well rewarded. The Beef Breed Classes are boosted by support from A Hyde Farm Feeds, Christies Direct, Dorepoll Herefords, Ernest Hall Menswear & Dress Hire, Frank Warwick Agricultural Merchants, J A McClelland & Sons, Macrete (Ireland) Ltd,Marquess Farm Meats, McCormack Family Butchers, Mel Lucas UPVC Windows and Doors, NI Limousin Cattle Club, Randox Laboratories Ltd, The Meat Joint, Warwick Engineering NI Ltd and W J Ervine Bitmac Contractors.
Sheep & Goats
The top sheep in the country should be flocking to Antrim for the Northern Bank/NISA Sheep Championship. Antrim is very pleased to host again the Northern Ireland Blue-faced Leicester Ram Classification and Progeny Show as well as the Mules Progeny Show. In the Sheep Section the Show acts as a qualifier for the Tesco Rare Breeds Sheep Derby. Points can also be attained towards the Border Leicester Exhibitor of the Year Award, A T Robinson Perpetual Trophy in the Charollais classes, the Ile de France Breeders Cup and the Rouge De L'Ouest Show Flock of the Year.
The prizes in the Sheep Section are something to "bleat" about thanks to sponsorship from Northern Bank for the Champion of Champions, John Thompsons Ltd for the top groups and the Ulster Wool Group Ltd for the best pairs. In addition the breed classes attract support from A Hyde Farm Feeds, Ballyvoy Service Station, Bibby, Bradys Supervalu, Campbell & Hoy, Castledawson Pharmacy, Christies Direct, Firmount Veterinary Clinic, GDF Constructions, J J & S E McBride Vets, Ballycastle, John McCurry & Sons, McCaughan Animal Health, NI Texel Sheep Breeders Club, Ollardale Ltd, Randox Laboratories Ltd, Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association Chairman and Warwick Engineering.
This year Antrim plans to move the Goat Section including the cute little Pygmies into a different area beside the Trade Stands allowing spectators a better perspective.
Interbreed Young Handler Competitions were first run at Antrim's Centenary Show and thanks to sponsorship from Northern Bank these will run again for the Dairy and Beef sections. New sponsor in 2007, Geoffrey Fleck - GDF Construction has upped his sponsorship to provide prize money for the Sheep Young Handlers, both sponsors obviously realising the benefits in encouraging the exhibitors of the future.
Horses & Ponies
In the Horse field SVM Properties are repeating their sponsorship of the Supreme Champion & Reserve In Hand and Doagh Farm Feeds are ensuring the Champion Cob and Reserve go home better off, while Danny Kinahan Fine Art sponsors the Champion & Reserve Hunter. The Irish Draught Horse Society is continuing sponsoring excellent prize and appearance money for their foal class. While Dennison Commercials Ltd supports the Thoroughbred section. Antrim is once again a qualifying show for the NISA/Geoffrey Tanner Clydesdale Championship. All of these factors should help to bring out the entries in this sector of the Show.
For the first time Antrim show are running classes affiliated to the British Miniature Horse Society, it is hoped that these extra classes will attract an increased number of exhibitors, they always prove popular with the spectators. The Pony section has also had a major revamp, to include Show Hunter Pony and Mountain & Moorland Classes. The Family Pony classes have also been extended and will include a small obstacle course to test the ponies "bomb proof" qualities. These extra classes are being supported by new sponsors Horseware, Antrim and Laurel View Equestrian Centre.
Ponies will also play a major role in one the main arena attractions, as Antrim are delighted to welcome the Pony Club Games to Antrim Show. The speed and agility of the competitors is amazing and is definitely going to be a real crowd pleaser.
The Show Jumping events should be well supported thanks to the tremendous prize fund provided by Dunadry Hotel & Country Club, F G Dubois & Co, Islandbawn Stores and Stonebridge Horse Feeds. The Show Jumping prize fund has been further boosted this year as Easy Park and Trevor McConnell Agricultural Merchant have joined the sponsors in this section allowing Antrim to extend the events on offer to attract a wider range of riders.
Home Industries, Horticulture & Schools
In the Home Industries and Horticulture marquee there is always great competition and a sumptuous array of exhibits. The strong competition in the Schools section looks set to continue with Living Creatures being the theme this year. The show is greatly indebted to Logwood Plant Centre, Standing Stone Potatoes and Tesco, Antrim for their sponsorship in this marquee.
Sponsorship of all varieties has and will be gratefully received, other sponsors promising or providing support to Antrim Show to date are Bairds of Antrim, Creagh Concrete Products Ltd, Crumlin Livestock Market, DARD, Five Corners Guest Inn, Glenfarm Holdings Limited, Harman Fine Furnishers, Jones, Birnie & Steele - NFU Mutual Crumlin, Kernohan, McConnell & Kelly NFU Mutual, Ballyclare, McBurney Heating & Plumbing Ltd, McCombe Bros (Antrim) Ltd., O'Rorke, McDonald & Tweed, P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) Limited, Plant Hoses, Ross Farm Supplies, Samuel McCausland Ltd, S R & W J Johnston, Agricultural Contractors and T H Duffin.
The full programme of events is still being added to, but another attraction always popular is the Children's Pet Show especially with cash prizes for the winners and a small prize for all, sponsored and judged by Clare Veterinary Group.
The County Antrim Competitions Day will be back again this year, bringing many YFC activities and attractions while testing the Young Farmers abilities, technically, mentally and physically, with a large dose of fun thrown in and probably a bucket or two of water!
Alistair Lindsay Agricultural Contractor is providing the finance for the Vintage Tractor Display which always prove very popular, showing clearly how farm mechanisation has moved on.
The show is planning plenty of side shows and attractions to keep kids of all ages amused. There are also many trade stands and stalls to browse including everything from creative crafts to calorific cakes.
VIPs on show day will once again be treated to a special lunch catered by Dohertys Outside Catering and funded by Carryduff & Omagh Auctions.
Antrim Show Queen for 2008, Kathy Graham from Lylehill will be able to enjoy all this activity on Show Day, wearing the beautiful piece of jewellery provided by McKeown Jewellers.
Copies of the catalogue are likely to be snatched up as Hilton, Templepatrick are providing an overnight stay for two with dinner for the winning catalogue drawn.
To enter or support the show
The comprehensive and enticing schedule of classes and prizes will soon be distributed to previous exhibitors. Most entries need to be submitted by July 2 at the latest to be included in the Antrim Show Catalogue. However, entries for the Equestrian Section, Horticulture & Children’s Pet Show can be taken up to and including Show Day.
If you have not entered a class at Antrim Show before and would like to ensure you are one of the first to receive a full list of classes for this year’s show, contact Linda on 9084 9466 or email@example.com
Outside Trade space and advertising opportunities are still available for anyone who wishes to take advantage of all the support attracted by this programme of events. Contact Antrim Show Secretary, Linda Davis on tel. 9084 9466 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The action kicks off on Saturday, July 26 from 9am and will still be going on until at least 5pm. Admission for adults is 5; accompanied children under 12 get in free, while admission for Senior Citizens and unaccompanied children is only 3. Car parking is also free.
So for a great value day out, with something for everyone, put the date in your diary now.