Royal Welsh Show
The Royal Welsh Show (Welsh: Sioe Frenhinol Cymru) is the biggest agricultural show in Europe. It is organised by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, which was formed in 1904, and takes place in July of each year, at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells, in Powys, Mid Wales.
The first show was held in Aberystwyth in 1904, and its success led to the development of the permanent showground at Llanelwedd, first used in 1963.
The show lasts for four days and attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually, making it a major boon for tourism in Wales.
- Judging of cattle, sheep, horses, goats, pigs and various other domestic animals
- Sheepdog trials
- Sheep shearing competitions
- Horse riding competitions
- Four-in-hand and Carriage Driving displays
- Games and sports such as the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery of the Royal Horse Artillery
- Arts and crafts show
- Live music
Given its "Royal" status it is not unusual for a senior member of the British Royal family to attend at the Show. A familiar sight is the Prince of Wales who is generally acknowledged to be a keen supporter of the farming community. Indeed following his outspoken support during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, some farmers regard him as an influential figure. One farming union, the FUW, nominated him for his outstanding contribution to agriculture in 2003 which was announced at the show.
Whilst being a successful exhibitor at any show is a success, victory at the Royal Welsh Show is regarded as particularly significant not only in Wales but throughout the United Kingdom. Exhibitors attend from throughout Wales and beyond and the quality of competition is always high. Of particular prestige is the category of Supreme Champion in the cattle section. Success in this category attracts attention to the exhibitor and cattle breeders will be willing to pay more for the animal's progeny. Despite this financial incentive, the majority of exhibitors will claim they compete for the honour and the camaraderie.
Most major businesses with links to agriculture will have a trade stand at the show. Given the number of farming people at the venue it is regarded as a vital opportunity to attract new business as well as to network with current customers. It is not unusual to see an exhibition trade stand selling Manure spreaders sighted next to a stand selling luxury sports cars.
The Royal Welsh Show is particularly significant for young people who live in farming communities in Wales. It is regarded as one of the highlights of the year and as an opportunity to socialise with old friends and make new acquaintances, particularly of the opposite sex. The Wales Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs runs a series of competitions throughout Wales throughout the year and the finals of the practical competitions usually take place at the Show. Amongst these events are stock judging and tractor driving.
Welsh Cob Senior Stallions
Arguably the biggest event at the show is the Welsh Cob Senior Stallion class, traditionally held on the Wednesday afternoon of the show ("Welsh Cob Wednesday"). The class is held using the entire main arena, and the grandstand, opposite hill and surrounds are typically packed, with seating becoming hard to come by from about 10:30 onwards. The 50+ stallions are paraded at the trot in front of the grandstand, raising often thunderous roars from the crowd before they settle down for the judging of the class.
This event on its own brings spectators from all around the world.