THOSE dulcet tones from unmistakable Yorkshireman Roger Ingham will once again belt forth from Kilnsey Show’s PA system, as he takes the microphone and podium for the event’s sporting fixtures next week, Tuesday, August 31.

His knowledge of the sporting events surrounding the show - held online only last year due to Covid - as well as those taking part - has resulted in an unequalled quality of commentary from Roger over several decades.

He has almost become an integral part of the fixtures and fittings and, if all goes to plan - as well it should - it will be the 60th occasion that ‘Mr Sport’ has contributed a sterling shift towards the organisation and success of the districts biggest one-day agricultural and sporting show.

At age 13 while working on a school holiday milk round and noting Bruce Aspinall warming up his horse at Carleton in preparation for that same afternoon’s jumping at Kilnsey Show, Roger decided - as soon as the milk round was complete - to head straight up to Kilnsey to see Bruce and his horse in action, but moreover to see the legendary Teasdale.

That was in 1957, and highly impressed with all that he had seen, Kilnsey Show became an annual pilgrimage.

Indeed, a year later, aged 14, Roger tried to enter the junior crag race and legged it up to the secretary’s house, in Thorpe, only to see his application rejected due to it being too late.

By 1959, and having competed elsewhere, Roger was hooked up by the Kilnsey Sports chief steward, Billy Pickering, and trainer of promising young fell runners who insisted upon his young trainees help set up the showfield. Thus, Roger would find himself helping out before he had ever competed there,

Roger recalls one particular occasion when ingenuity helped save the day.

“It was nearing the end of a long hot summer. Darkness was descending and the midges were biting like mad. Myself and stablemate Norman Beck - eventual three times winner of the crag race - were marking out the track with an old football pitch line marker. We did not have sufficient water to complete the lime mix so we both ‘peed’ in it to finish the job!”

Many years would pass and Roger would continue keenly competing.

A colourful character they called Owd Clegg, from Ilkley, was commenter at the shows, but when he died the atmosphere went ‘a bit flat’ as Roger recalled.

“In 1981as I just crossed the finishing line and still out of breath, the show chairman Jim Caygill, thrust a microphone into his hand for him to perform the commentating for the rest of the show.

Forty years on and he is still doing it and has earned his place in Yorkshire Dales folk lore to boot.

For such was the extent of his popular acclaim, shows and sports organisers from far and wide vied for his colourful chords to spice up their own events - the Great Yorkshire Show and the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross among them.

And there is little doubt that that his appealing rapport was a significant factor in attendances in the 1980s and ‘90s progressively soaring to over 15,000. These heady figures having been to some extent encouraged due to Roger’s microphone virtues being extolled via bookmakers interviewed on ITV, Channel Four Racing and elsewhere.

Others have said Roger’s commentary aplomb was ‘worth the admission price alone’.

Roger would also find his virtues glowingly extolled by none other than the future monarch, HRH Prince Charles at the Moorcock Show, in Garsdale.

Roger’s quips on the mic sometimes prompted smiles from show-goers for personal reasons. Not least of all at a time when the Berlin Wall still existed and a crag race competitor, Heinz Schumacher, was galloping up the home straight to be greeted by Roger’s one-liner: “Probably trained for this event by loping ‘ower t’ wall’.”

During the 1970s Roger had also been the pioneer of female participants in the running events at Kilnsey, both in the crag races and on track.

Except for 1986 when Hurricane Charlie decimated proceedings, the sports during the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s were booming as never before.

Given half decent weather this year’s show - including a dash of Roger’s terminology over the mic along the way - promises to be a ‘good ‘un’.

You will be hard pressed to find anything to rival it anywhere in the north so, to one and all, be there, or be square!