Hugh Smith wrote the following account of this years Islay Show for the Ileach: "Some of the best known names in Islay farming circles dominated the prize lists at the island’s local agricultural show held before a record crowd and in soaring temperatures at Bridgend on Thursday, 13th August.
It was a particularly successful day for the Firm of T Epps, Ardnave, who shone in the beef cattle section, and whose calf entry went on to win the show’s championship and the champion of champions accolade.
Other regular competitors featuring highly on the leader board were G and M Porter, Carrabus, N and M MacLellan, Kilchiaran, Dunlossit Estate Ceannacroic, and N MacDonald, Bunnahabhain.
Gordon Currie from Port Ellen and his namesake Alastair from Ballaclavan made their mark in the blackface sheep section, while Alastair’s father Duncan was awarded the overall sheep championship. Other notable winners were T Rozga, Kilmeny and A Orr, Lagavullin Also covering themselves in glory in the ovine classes were I MacMillan, Eorrabus, B MacDonald, Bowmore, G and J Archibald, Craigens, and M and M Brown. Cruach. Continue reading....
The prize for the best Highland pony entered by owner went to FH and HA Roxburgh, Ballivicar, who also gained the best riding pony award. M Brown and R Hayes , Gruinart, fielded the best pony in show as well as the champion and the best horse/pony shown in hand. The reserve champion was handled by J Fletcher, Keills, who also received the shield for the best riding horse.
The crowds enjoying the fabulous weather and atmosphere
The trophy for the most aggregate points in the gymkhana went to K Middleton, Port Ellen, who was also the best young rider under 16 years. L Currie from Bowmore enjoyed similar success in the under twelve years best rider section.
Although lacking in equine elegance, a very nice donkey, owned and shown by D and A MacFadyen, Bowmore, was popularly awarded the show’s reserve champion of champions and has been braying non-stop ever since!
The dog section is another highlight of the show and this year’ winners were the pedigree golden retriever owned by D Ferrier, and A Yardley’s pedigree bearded collie pup.
The flower tent was a blaze of colour, the sheep shearing demonstration was awesome in the dexterity shown, the ‘quack commandos’ went through their paces effortlessly and the Ella Edgar Highland dancers pleased all watchers.
The increased number of trade stands and food outlets reported brisk trade, and the fun fair operators did not lack eager customers. An increase in the number of participating restored tractors and vintage vehicles provided another high point of interest, and various charitable causes represented were also well patronised.
Pets on display, handcrafts, the baking and children’s sections kept up the impetus, and the children’s races were as hotly contested as the Olympics. And while all this was going on, journalist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch appeared to lead a discussion on land issues following the local launch of the ‘Our Land Festival’ on the previous evening.
This was the island’s 169th annual show organised by the Islay, Jura and Colonsay Agricultural Association, which was founded in 1838 and is currently led by its President, John MacKellar, Ballygrant.
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