Competitors from all over Europe have started to arrive in Northern Ireland for the European Ploughing Championships, European Vintage Ploughing Championships and Horse Ploughing competition.
Hailing from Wales, England, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, the Isle of Man, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the competitors are set to compete at Shackelton Barracks in Ballykelly this Friday and Saturday (2-3 Sept).
Set to be a family friendly fun-packed event, trade stands, horse ploughing exhibitions, children’s entertainment, crafts stalls and a vintage display are among a range of attractions that will be available onsite throughout the two day competition.
Adrian Jamison, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association said: “We are delighted to be bringing the European Ploughing Championships back to Northern Ireland and to be able to welcome our fellow ploughmen from across Europe to Ballykelly.
“We intend to have a great event and welcome back the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster Fencing and Soil Assessment competitions. There will be something for the whole family to enjoy with horse ploughing, a vintage display, children’s attractions and lots of trade stands and a craft area.”
The event is hosted by the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, the governing body of competition ploughing across Northern Ireland uniting 21 affiliated ploughing societies across the country with approximately 500 members.
Northern Ireland Ploughing Association president William King said: “The highlight of this weekend will be bringing the top ploughing talent together to compete to become European Champions both with modern day and yesteryear machinery.
“May I wish the spectators, exhibitors and all who have contributed to this event, a successful and enjoyable Championship.”
This year over 100 competitors are set to compete in seven different categories: World Style Reversible, World Style Conventional, Vintage Class, Horse Class and Horse Style & Appearance Class.
The Northern Ireland Ploughing Association’s key mission is to bridge the gap between the older generation and the younger.
Adrian explained that hosting events like the European Ploughing Championships helps people within the farming community “to congregate and meet as well as people in the local areas who are just interested in finding out a bit more about the agricultural traditions here in Northern Ireland.”
European Ploughing Federation, President John Hill said: “It is now over three years since the last European Reversible Ploughing Championships were held, after being forced to cancel in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are now delighted to be able to go ahead with the event this weekend in Northern Ireland.
“The Championships could not be held without the hard work and dedication of the team of volunteers behind the scenes, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association and their supporters for hosting the competition this year.
“I would like to wish all the competitors the very best of luck for this year.”
The European Ploughing Championships take place at Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly, Co Derry/Londonderry, on Friday and Saturday, September 2-3, 2022.