INSTEAD of “virtual” sheep, organisers of a country show this weekend have promised the real thing.
The recent lifting of the ban on the transporting of livestock means sheep competitions will be able to go ahead at Stanhope Show in Weardale, County Durham, on Saturday.
It will be one of the first shows in the region to hold live animal classes since the Surrey foot-and-mouth outbreak.
And show secretary Fiona Graham said she hoped to book a display of racing pigs the following day.
Now Ms Graham is urging local farmers to get their entries in after the ban was lifted at the weekend.
Unlike nearby Wolsingham Show last Saturday and Sunday, which held a virtual cattle and sheep show, there will be two classes of sheep, one for Swaledales and another for Any Other Breed, at Stanhope.
At Wolsingham exhibitors were asked to send photographs of their cattle, sheep and goats for the judges to view, but Ms Graham said: “The lifting of the ban came too late to organise all the livestock classes we would normally stage. But we do want to have some sheep classes and we are actively seeking entries.
“There will be a host of other attractions and we are hoping for a successful show over Saturday and Sunday.”
Other attractions include Stanhope Silver Band on Saturday, a steel band on Sunday, a bale pulling contest and also, bizarrely, a wife-carrying competition.
“The wife-carrying contest is very popular. Husbands have to carry their wives over an assault course.
“We will also be having sheepdog trials, but instead of the sheep the dogs will be herding geese and ducks into pens.”
There will also be competitions in Cumberland wrestling, dog obedience, Welsh ponies and sulky racing. To enter the sheep competitions call Paul Collinson on (01388) 517374.
Another show scheduled for this weekend is Ingram, near Wooler, Northumberland. Show secretary James Shell said: “We will have some sheep in the competition, but they will all be local sheep from Ingram which will not require transport. It was too late to organise any other livestock competitions, but we will have sheep classes which the public will be able to help judge.”
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