“As long as people enjoy themselves and they keep on coming, we are happy.”

These were the words of Emley Show president Andrew Hughes late into a hot and sunny Saturday as thousands milled around him.

He was speaking as a crowd estimated at more than 15,000 packed into the sprawling showground close to the base of the iconic TV mast.

It was a huge success with record entry figures in many of the classes and long queues for ice-creams and cold drinks in the glorious weather.

It was also a day of contrasts.

There was a tribute by show members and officials to Allen Turner, president of the neighbouring Honley Show, who died last week.

And they were then delighted as massive crowds packed the main arena to see the thrills and spills of the Blazing Saddles stunt team, with six “cowgirls” risking life and limb on horses at breakneck speed.

And they were followed, again to the delight of the crowd, with a more sedate parade of tractors – including several manufactured only a few miles from the site at the former David Brown factory.

“Let’s have a bit of speed” roared the commentator as Stuart Waddington, of Hoylandswaine, led the parade in to the arena on his 1960 Massey Ferguson, boasting a top speed of 15mph..

 

Away from the arena, there was the usual keen interest in the various livestock and animal classes.

In the rabbits section, there was a record entry of 273 from all over the north of England.

Section secretary Patricia Cauton, who has been a stalwart at Emley for more than 20 years, said: “I have never seen it so busy, but it is a great show.

“We have had people queuing around the tent all day to come and see the entries and the standard for the competitors has been very high.

“Not everyone can have a huge cow or a pedigree goat at home, but everyone can have a rabbit and that’s the attraction.”

In another marquee, there was also a lot of interest in one of the many traditional crafts on show.

Michael and April Bray, of Holmfirth, organised a display on behalf of the British Stickmakers’ Society.

Visitors were keen to see the myriad collection of walking sticks, most of them crafted from a hazel shaft and with ornate heads created from materials including ram’s horn or antlers.

Mrs Bray said: “We get a lot of interest from people of all ages, but mainly it is the older end – for obvious reasons.

“We do get people interested and we are running classes from September at Holmfirth High School, on the third Tuesday of each month.”

The horse section was bigger than ever and late into the day there was fierce competition in many of the classes, with showjumpers to the fore.

One veteran with a keen interest in all things equine was Pat Hampshire, who won her first rosette in a pony class at Emley Show back in 1951.

Now much of the show is held on the fields she farms for 364 days of the year.

“It is a great show and it’s nice to be able to give something back,” said Mrs Hampshire, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her work with Riding for the Disabled.

The huge “village” of trade stands was also hectic for most of the day, with only a brief shower late in the morning to deter the browsers and the shoppers.

There were also crowds around the gleaming motor car displays, with children – and a few dads – anxious to get into the driving seats of a range of luxury cars.

Mr Hughes was delighted with the day.

“We won’t know for certain for a while but we think attendance figures are up on last year.

“We have taken one or two extra fields around the site this year to create more space but it has been very busy.

“I think everyone has enjoyed the day. The staff and volunteers who put on the show do a great job and I would certainly hope we can continue to do that for years to come.

“My wife Diane’s great-grandfather was involved with Emley Show back in the late 1800s and I certainly hope we can continue to put on something for the whole family.”