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HomeBeefDenise Barber: Jam-packed North Sligo Ag Show planned for next week
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Denise Barber: Jam-packed North Sligo Ag Show planned for next week

In this article, Denise Barber, PRO of North Sligo Agricultural Show, previews this year’s event, which boasts 65 cattle classes, 76 sheep classes and 42 horse and pony classes among other attractions. 

We are delighted to celebrate our 75th year on Saturday, August 5th, 2023, in Grange, County Sligo.

Our first show took place in 1945 and since then we have overcome challenges arising from BSE, inclement weather conditions and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But, this year, chairman Niall Brennan has returned, bringing together the best show yet. To celebrate our 75th year, we have changed and modernised our logo, which I have assisted with through my Swarber Photography business and we have given our website a revamp, thanks to Format.ie. 

2023 North Sligo Show

Our chairman, Niall Brennan, says: 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our generous sponsors, without their support, this day would not happen.” 

“Also, our hard-working committee members, stewards and helpers on the day and to the individuals and organisations who put their facilities at our disposal, a big thank you.” 

“Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our exhibitors and the public for their continued support over the years and we hope you all have a very memorable and safe day.” 

We would like to thank BMG Homevalue Bundoran for their help and support and for continuing to be our main sponsor over the last few years, and, of course, to all our sponsors, because, without them, it would be impossible to keep our show going.

On the day, we have entertainment for all the family, from kid’s activities, Irish music starting at 1 pm and Benbulben Macra’s jiving competition, while Paul Kelly and his band live will perform from 3 pm and we will round off the day with DJ Jumpy.

We will be crowning the queen of the show after Paul Kelly and his band have finished playing on the main stage. 

We also have the bonny baby competition, Little Miss Grange, Little Mr Grange, the most appropriately dressed farmer and the best-dressed lady, so make sure to dress to impress on the day.

Cattle 

Last year, we launched our all-Ireland red-white roan breeding heifer and heifer calf championships and they proved to be hugely popular classes, with competitors coming as far as County Clare. 

This class is kindly sponsored again this year by Leslie’s Farm Supplies in conjunction with AW Ennis, with €2,000 of prize money over two classes. We expect to have even bigger numbers than last year. 

Class 10 is the all-Ireland red, white-roan coloured breeding heifer championship with a prize of €1,100. The overall champion will receive €500 and the Desmond E Ward Memorial Perpetual Cup. 

The reserve champion will receive €300 going down the line to seventh place receiving €50. 

Class 11 is the All-Ireland red, white roan coloured weaning heifer championship with a prize fund of €900.

The champion will receive €400, the reserve champion will receive €200 and going down the line to seventh place with €50.

Entries for both classes are priced at €15 and all first prize winners in other classes are excluded from entering this class.

Unhaltered and breeders’ choice

We have an unhaltered section with over 9 classes to suit farmers that may not have time to halter train an animal but wants to showcase the quality of stock they have in their herd.

We have a wide range of pedigree cattle classes ranging from Charolais, Simmental, Shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus, Limousin and Salers and a newly introduced class this year for pedigree Dexters.

This year, we have entries from all over the country with someone coming as far as County Kilkenny. 

We have introduced two groups for the young handler section this year: class 17 confined to children under 13 years of age and class 18 for children between 13 and 18 years of age. 

Also, there will be a championship where first and second-prize winners of world classes will compete for the Mickey Broom Memorial Perpetual Cup and prizes for first, second and third are kindly sponsored by Rowlette Garden Equipment.

Another popular class in the commercial section is class 9, the northwest open non-pedigree heifer suitable for suckling championship with a prize fund of €1,300.

The entry fee for this class is €15 and the winner will receive the John Burke Memorial Perpetual Cup, sponsored by the Burke and Davis family.

The overall champion will carry a fund of €700 with the reserve receiving €300 and down the line to the fifth, who will €50. 

We are also delighted to have class 15, the Irish Shows’ Association and Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s Breeders’ Choice, continental four or five-star heifer class. 

With €750 up for grabs in total, the first place will pocket €250 and prize money will be allocated right down to eighth place at €50. 

Sheep 

We have ever-expanding pedigree sheep classes for Suffolk, Texel, Blue Texel, Charollais, Dorset and Vendeen, with champions in each section competing for the overall pedigree champion silverware. 

Class 134 is for the best single continental crossbreed hogget with a prize fund of €350, kindly sponsored by Nutrias Animal Feeds.

Class 135 is the Zurich Farm Insurance All-Ireland continental lamb championship for entries weighing over 45 kg kindly, sponsored by Zurich Insurance. 

We also have the Western Forestry Co-op open ewe lamb championship with a prize fund of €465. 

There are three classes in this section for the best pair of pedigree ewe lambs of any breed, best pair of lowland ewe lambs of any breed and best pair of Mountain ewe lambs. 

We have also introduced new pairs classes this year that will be judged in their pens. 

They include the best pair of Suffolk cross non-continental breeding ewe lambs, the best pair of Suffolk cross non-continental ewe hoggets, and the best pair of Cheviot Mountain cross ewe lambs.

We also have the Darty Mountain Range classes, kindly sponsored by BMG Homevalue. 

The most popular class in this section is class 160, a trio from each flock containing one horned ram, horned ewe or hogget and horned ewe lamb with the winner taking home the Sea Rooney Memorial Perpetual Cup. 

Besides, we have introduced new classes including best rare breed, best coloured female sheep of any age or breed and a Swaledale section. 

Equine

We are delighted to be the first show in the northwest of Ireland to have ability equine-assisted therapeutic classes. 

These classes include best turned-out ridden horse or pony led (walk only) and ridden horse or pony led (walk and trot). 

These classes are pre-entry only and entries had to be submitted by Friday, July 28th, 2023 – strictly no entries will be taken on the day. 

We have 12 classes in our horse section to choose from with the overall champion of the show boasting a prize fund of a whopping €700. 

There are Connemara pony classes with an overall supreme pony of show prize fund of €400. 

And not forgetting our Irish Pony Society ridden pony classes, in-hand pony, young handler, and non-affiliated ridden pony classes. 

We have 140 home industries classes for adults and children to choose from, along with fruit and veg, flowers, jams, home baking, knitting, photography and art classes.

Also, we have introduced two children’s Lego classes: class 833 is for aged 5-8 and class 834 is for aged 9-14.

We also have qualifier classes for Tullamore, Virginia, and ISA all-Ireland classes.

Poultry, dogs & shearing 

The show has a very popular poultry section with 20 classes to choose from and we have qualifier classes for Swinford Show. 

Not forgetting our dog section with 32 classes and two rings on the go, including the ISA All-Ireland gun dog qualifier for Beltra Show.

We have the Eweknit speed shearing competition this year with a prize fund of €300 entries. It proved to be a very popular attraction at last year’s show and will take place from 2:30 pm on the day. 

Lastly, we will also have a local hand shearing competition with a prize fund of €150 and this will be judged on the clip and quality, not speed.

On the day, we have our best monster raffle yet with seven prizes, with €1,000 in cash, weekends away and €250 vouchers. 

Tickets will be on sale on the day for €5 each or 3 for €10 and the draw will take place in Langs Bar and Restaurant on Sunday, August 6th, 2023, at 8 pm. 

We will have the return of the guess the weight of the lamb competition, which proves very popular year after year. Tickets are €2 and will be on sale on the day. 

Entries and volunteers 

To avoid disappointment, get your entries in early and while we will still take entries on show day, there is a cut-off time of 10.30 am. No entries will be taken after this time and judging across all sections will commence at 11 am sharp.  

We are a small committee, but we do our very best to put on a massive show every year.

Unfortunately, over the last few years our committee has been slowly dwindling, so we are always looking for new members to join our show. 

As a show grows every year, we need more volunteers, so if there is anyone out there that is free for a couple of hours during the day, please contact our secretary or message our Facebook page.

Admission is €10 and under 12s are free – see more on – northsligoagrishow.ie 

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