DEC 6, 2013: A record attendance of 29,374 and a top price of £7,100 for a baby beef heifer was just part of the overwhelming success of the 24th annual Royal Welsh Winter Fair at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.
Described by the chairman of the Royal Welsh board of directors, John Davies, as “a blockbuster and a phenomenal success,” the Winter Fair attendance was up by 2500 on 2012 and 1300 more visitors than ever before were welcomed to the showground for the event. The decision by the RWAS to increase the number of outdoor trade stands by 40 per cent by opening a new avenue to accommodate them paid off for the society. Christmas shoppers went on a spending spree and at one point cash machines at the two-day Fair ran out of money and had to be hastily replenished to cope with demand. Livestock form the core of the Winter Fair which is widely acclaimed as the finest prime stock show in Europe and this year’s entries of nearly 1250 cattle, sheep, pigs and horses were of outstanding quality. The tussle for the supreme championship in the cattle classes resulted in victory for R.J. Wright of Somerton, Somerset, a regular exhibitor at the Winter Fair. His Limousin heifer, Powerhouse Hella, bred by Colin Phillips of Weobley, Herefordshire, sold for £6,650 to Dunbia, one of the Winter Fair’s main sponsors. The reserve supreme champion was won by Elfed Williams of Sennybridge, Brecon, which was the fifth occasion for him to take the reserve award. The Fair maintained its reputation as a ready source of prime young stock with show potential and the biggest success of the sale went to Bryan and Fiona Jones of Pentregwyn, Llanfihangel-Nant-Bran, Brecon, who have exhibited at every Winter Fair since its inception. Their home bred baby beef heifer, Blackberry, a March-born Limousin-sired British Blue x Limousin, topped the prices with a bid of £7,100 by Michael Alford of Collumpton, Devon. Another of the Jones’s entries of similar breeding sold for £2,500 to Andrew Bishop of Hereford. There were 376 entries in the sheep section where the supreme championship went to a pair of Beltex ewe lambs owned by Dafydd Lewis of Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire. They were bought by Dunbia (Wales) for £550 per head. The reserve supreme winners, a pair of Texel x ewe and wether lambs from R. Hall & Son of Dalston, Cumbria, were bought by local butchers Morgan of Builth Wells for £310. In the hotly contested carcass competitions A.D. Bishop’s Beltex lambs from Eldersfield, Gloucester, took both the supreme and reserve championships for single lambs and were sold to T.W. Roberts & Sons of Cardiff for £1050. The winners of the pairs competition, R.J. Slade’s Dutch Texels, also sold to Morgan Butchers of Builth for £280 each. Welsh pigs dominated both the singles and pairs classes. The pairs championship was won by the entry of Glyn Davies of Denbigh and were sold to J.W. Williams & Co, Denbigh, for £420 each and the supreme championship title for a single pig went to Mrs Davies of Tryalmawr, Aberystwyth, sold to R. Rattray, Aberystwyth, for £304. The Fair attracted a strong entry of 539 in the horse section where the coveted supreme championship was won by Mr & Mrs H.S. Davies with Cadlanvalley Rio, their Welsh Pony yearling colt. The auctioneers, McCartneys, reported solid trade and there was excellent buying support from across Wales and beyond.