The Royal Welsh Winter Fair is widely referred to as the finest prime stock show in Europe and is firmly established as one of the most popular attractions on the British agricultural show calendar. Leading stockmen from all over the UK compete for the top accolades in the classes and competitions and their share of the £25,000 of prize money on offer over the two-day event.
With over 1,300 cattle, sheep, pigs and horses as well as over 180 entries in the lamb carcass classes, the stakes are always set for a great couple of days’ worth of competitions. But who’s calling the shots in the judging rings?
Bestowed the honour of judging the Heifer Section and Cattle Championship is Mr Pearse McNamee from County Donegal.
Mr McNamee is a well-respected farmer and semen salesman who is no stranger to the judging rings as a successful breeder of show cattle for the past 10 years.
Having been judging now for about four years, Mr McNamee is honoured to have been asked to judge the Heifer Section and Cattle Championship and very much looking forward to returning to the Winter Fair to carry out his duties.
The 2016 Royal Welsh Winter Fair Steer Section and Cattle Championship judge is Mr Bryn Lloyd from Corwen.
Mr Lloyd, a farmer and keen shooting enthusiast, is a huge supporter of the winter fair and had been a cattle judge for over 35 years. However, until now, Mr Lloyd hasn’t combined his two passions and this year will be the first time he will be judging at the Winter Fair.
Mr Lloyd has said he is very honoured to have been chosen to judge at the event and happy to be following in his father’s footsteps, whom has judges at Royal Welsh events on three separate occasions.
The sale of the cattle will commence at 3pm on Tuesday 29 November, with the Supreme Champion sold at 3.15pm.
The 2016 Sheep Championship judge is Andrew Atkinson from Harrogate, North Yorkshire who will have the tricky task of selecting the supreme champion sheep from all section champions; Crossbred, Butchers’ Weights, Native Hill and Upland, Lowland, Welsh Mountain, Continental and Pure Hill & Upland and Welsh Mountain Breeds Championship.
The sale of the sheep will commence at 12 noon on Tuesday 29 November, with the Supreme Champion sold at 12.30pm.
Judging the Supreme Pig Champion at the 2016 Royal Welsh Winter Fair will be Mr Peter Gott from Cumbria.
Mr Gott and his family have been farming in the Lake District for over 30 years and specialise in producing niche market products made from un-commercial animals, such as wild boar, which are sold direct to the consumer via their farm shop and market stalls.
Mr Gott will be judging the Supreme Pig Champion at 10am on Tuesday 29 November, with the winning exhibited being auctioned in the sale that afternoon which begins at 2pm.
This year’s judge for the Supreme Champion Carcass Singles Competition is Mr Raymond J Roberts from Bala.
A full-time butcher, Mr Roberts has been judging for over 40 years, including YFC classes and the paired carcass competition at the Winter Fair a couple of years ago and is looking forward of the challenge of this year’s judging duties.
Mr David R Jones from Angelsey will be this year’s judge for the Supreme Champion Carcasses Pairs Competition. Mr Jones is an experienced judge who last year judged the Beltex sheep section at the Royal Welsh Show.
The champion carcasses will be sold at auction, beginning at 10.30am on Tuesday 29 November.
The esteemed judge of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair Supreme Horse Championship this year is Mr Aled James from Llantwit Major, Glamorgan.
A retired beef farmer, Mr James has been a steward for the Royal Welsh for over 40 years and attended the Winter Fair numerous times before, however, this will be his first time here as a judge.
In 2015, Mr James was awarded an Honorary Life Membership for his outstanding contribution to the Horse Section at both the Winter Fair and Royal Welsh Show for over 20 years.
This year we are extremely lucky to have two celebrity judges for our Meat Product Competitions. The first is our very own Livestock Officer, Mr Ben Williams. Despite having worked for the society for 12 years, this will be the first time that he will be carrying out a judging role at one of the society events.
With his experience in the agricultural and show sector, Ben is more than qualified to carry out the role of judge and is very much looking forward to tasting all the products on offer at this year’s Winter Fair.
The second celebrity joining Ben as a judge for the Meat Product Competitions is Welsh rugby international Dan Biggar.
A Swansea boy and Ospreys player, who made his international debut for Wales back in 2008, Dan is the current Welsh team’s fly-half of choice. As a professional sportsman, Dan will be used to handling the pressure of competitions and we are very much looking forward to welcoming him to the 2016 Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
The Meat Products competitions will be judged at 10am on Tuesday 29 November.
Entries for the competitions will be accepted on the day with registration from 8.00 am to 9.00 am that morning. Full details can be found in the Livestock Schedule online – www.rwas.wales – and all enquiries should be made to Mr Keith Brown telephone: 01982 552100
For more information on the Winter Fair and to buy your advanced e-ticket, please visit www.rwas.wales