Momentous Week for Valais Blacknose Sheep at the 100th Royal Welsh
Kerry Costello Jones, Snowdonia Valais Blacknose
The Royal Welsh is the pinnacle event in the British agricultural calendar and is one of the biggest and best agricultural shows of its kind in Europe, attracting a quarter of a million visitors annually. Over an exciting four-days of livestock competitions, the show hosted nine thousand animals, with entries travelling from far and wide.
Following their 2018 Royal Welsh competing debut the Valais Blacknose dubbed as the ‘new kids on the block’ returned on mass for the centenary event, in a campaign to establish dedicated breed classes at the 2020 show. VBSSUK society members united, with 7 breeders and over 30 animals supporting and competing in the Any Other Pure Native Lowland or Continental Breed of Sheep Classes. 11 competition placements were awarded to the Valais across all 7 classes, a huge achievement for all involved and a big step forward in showcasing this magnificent breed.
Many congratulations also go to newcomer Aled Shenton, of R O Williams & Son Caerddaniel who’s ewe was placed 2ndin the Ewe, two shear or over class, subsequently making her the highest-ranking Valais across all AOB Lowland classes and the winner of the VBSSUK/RWAS Valais Champion bell and cup.
The breeds show-stopping entrance stole the hearts of the nation and caused a media frenzy. Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden discovered the wonders of Valais wool whilst filming for a dedicated BBC One Royal Welsh Show programme, with ITV Wales Coast & Country, S4C Y Sioe programmes and BBC Radio Wales supporting competition and campaign coverage – good job the Valais are not camera shy!
We would like to personally thank every member of ‘Team RWS 2019’: Aled & Glesni (Caerddaniel Valais Blacknose), Dai & Sian (Bwlchtuathre Valais Blacknose), Deian & Sara (Dolwen Blacknose Valais), Katharina, Louisa & Emily (Edelweiss Valais Blacknose Sheep), Katie, James & Edith (Yorkshire Dales Valais Blacknose) and Sarah-Jayne Lawlor (Lile Fhánada Valais Blacknose) who supported our campaign. Huge credit to you all on an incredibly successful show, it was an absolute privilege to be a part of this amazing team effort. Thank you also to VBSSUK for supporting this initiative and kindly donating member entry incentives and the overall champion bell and cup.
Crossing everything for future dedicated Valais Blacknose classes at what is undoubtedly the greatest show in the countryside calendar, bring on 2020!