Thousands turn out for rescheduled 109th Liskeard Show
Thousands of people enjoyed what was said to have been the last weekend of summer sunshine enjoying a truly Cornish event.
Roger Clemens described the 109th Liskeard Show, held on a sunny hillside at Merrymeet on Saturday, as a "Proper job – a real treat of a show".
"The weather's kind, and the organisers worked really hard to make this a proper Cornish event," he added. "Everywhere people are saying how pleased they are that it was rescheduled."
For although this time the South Devon cattle expert was not "among the big prizes" his feelings were echoed around the showground.
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As well as the innate Cornishness of the Liskeard Show, there is also a timeless quality to the event – from the playing of a Bud Flannigan recording of "Run Rabbit" to the sonorous and well-informed tones of main-ring announcer Peter Clarke; it could all be 50 years ago, and therein lies much of the charm.
"The magic's working well," said Pauline Ward, facing her third year in the office of secretary. "Rescheduling the show after it was called off at very short notice was a gamble, but it paid off.
"Ninety per cent of the real hard work had been done and it was enormously disappointing to have to postpone."
But the event – the only one-day agricultural show to survive in East Cornwall after the cancellation of both Launceston and Camelford – proved immensely popular, with an estimated 8,000 visitors through the gates and the car parks full.
"This show always has a lovely, friendly feel," Mrs Ward added. "When you change the date to six weeks later, you are taking an enormous chance, particularly as we ended up being the last show in the calendar. But the places of those who could not make it for the later date were quickly filled.
"When we came on to the showground to start getting it ready eight days ago we were amazed at how dry the ground had become"
Inevitably trade-stand figures were down slightly because of the change of date, but stand holders were reporting busy trade, with a wide variety of choice. And the giant marquees were thronged with shoppers, the Food Marquee offering everything from goat meat to honey, pickle to chocolate cakes.
Competitors queued from early morning for the vast horse show, the poultry show was full, and sheep exhibitors came from far and wide to compete – though Texels dominated.
In the cattle rings, beef beat dairy in the Supreme Interbreed Championship, the top title going to the Haste family from Shebbear with their magnificent three-year-old bull Oxcroft Elmo. The Hastes were the first farmers in the Westcountry to keep the breed, in 1983, and three generations of the family are involved, with four-year-old Dylan competing in the young showman competition.
Elmo himself is a consummate showman. "This chap poses for England if there's a camera about," joked Christine Haste. "The breed has developed considerably from Belgian Blue to British Blue, and they are now more mobile, without losing their shape."
Reserve was the champion dairy cow, Lyner Festival (correct spelling) from the Walters family of North Hill, near Launceston. Homebred by Arthur Walters, she is no stranger to the showing ring, having won the dairy championship at Okehampton, and her class at this year's Royal Cornwall.