50 YEARS ago in August, 1973, it was a ‘sunshine super’ 70th annual Gargrave Show.

The showfield was in ‘perfect condition’ and with crowds flocking in, gate receipts were expected to be £200 up on 1972, reported the Craven Herald at the time.

It was a successful day for show president, John Howard of Heslaker Farm, who not only presided over a lovely day, but because his two and a half year heifer won the supreme championship. He carried off four trophies in all.

Entries in the cattle section were however down for the 70th show, because of the brucellosis eradication scheme.

Sheep entries were also down, but in the handicraft, produce, cake and horticulture classes, there was an almost 50 per cent increase. Two new sections, for rabbits and cavies, were also well supported.

Throughout the day in the main arena there was keen competition in the hunter, ponies and show jumping classes, and the pony classes were one of the show’s highlights.

The services of the cattle referee were required to decide the silver challenge cup for the best animal in the cattle section. The winner, a handsome Friesian in milk, owned by the president, was making its debut in the show ring.

The reserve champion was also a show debutante - a four year old Friesian cow, exhibited by Mrs E Drinkall, Gargrave. The animal, which dropped its second calf a week before the show, had been bought in Scotland in the spring of 1973.

Mr Howard also gained the James Isherwood Cup for the best heifer in milk and retained a cup presented by himself for the best cow in calf. He also retained the silver rose bowl for the best local heifer calf, under 12 months old.

The Swaledale sheep section was once again dominated by R Cowperthwaite of Stockdale Farm, Settle. He won all nine classes in the section.

A numerous crowd watched the hunter, pony and show jumping classes.

In the previous few years, the horticulture section had been dominated by two men - Albert Paipala, Oakworth, and Derek Raw, Embsay. 1973 was no exception. Mr Paipala for the fifth consecutive year won the Longbottom Cup for the most points in the vegetable class, while Mr Raw made it nine years in a row when he gained the T A Garnett Silver Cup for the most points in the flower section.

Throughout the day, there was plenty of entertainment for visitors to the showfield, which started to fill up after lunch. Stalls included crockery, glass ware, toys, and a mixed stall run by the local church ladies.There were also the usual trade stalls. An ice cream van did a roaring trade and the beer tent was well patronised.

During the afternoon, Skipton Brass Band, ably conducted by Ken Bright, played well know selections. Their smart new uniforms added to the colour of the showfield.

A particular attraction was a display, by the president, of Warwickshire Long Horn cattle, an old English breed of beef animal which in 1973 was almost extinct.

Earlier in the day, the president had arrived at the showfield in a gleaming landau coach, drawn by Irish coach horses called Scot and Bedford. During the day, people were given rides around the showfield in the coach.

Vintage cars were a splendid sight They first toured around the village before arriving at the showfield. Winner was a 1927 Austin 7, owned by Peter Watson of Leeds who had owned it for 22 years and estimated he had travelled about 75,000 miles in it.

Highlight of the day was a display by the West Yorkshire Mounted Police., a test which illustrated the ‘trust between man and mount’, said the Herald.

The four riders were Sgt Richard Lonsdale on Arctic Rock; Constable Jim Ingle on Rosie, Ron Bedworth on Grey Star and Ken Crannige on Yorkshire Rose.

The riders and their mounts put on a wonderful show, riding under blazing bars, removing stirrups and saddles while mounted, and in general giving an excellent display of horsemanship.

A skill at arms competition, involving the use of sabre, revolver and lance was won by Pc Ingle.

Lakeland runners filled the first three places in the senior fell race, winner was Fred Reeves of Coniston, who had only been beaten three times in 17 races in 1973.

The junior fell race was won by D Alderson of Horton-in Ribblesdale, with G Moffat, Sedbergh, second.

A dance in Gargrave Village Hall in the evening rounded off a very successful day.

This year's Gargrave Show takes place on Saturday, August 20 .