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Defiant public ignore rain at Balmoral Show

By Linda McKee

A steady downpour throughout the final day of the Balmoral Show didn’t deter the big contenders in the style stakes.

Not only did the competitors in the Ladies Best Dressed Competition ramp up the style, but many proved that you don’t have to go designer to make an impact.

Indeed, the overall winner — Stacey Caldwell from Banbridge — did exactly that, wowing the judges with a combination of designer style and borrowed finery in her green and black ensemble.

Christine Watson from The Outlet, which sponsored the contest, said: “Despite the rain the ladies really made an effort. It was that case of somebody who really stood out from the crowd.

“There were some very quirky styles and the judges would have loved to have awarded 3rd, 4th and 5th places.

“The winner had borrowed bits and bobs from relatives and friends and put them together with a statement piece.

“In the current economic climate there’s no excuse — there are things you can do without spending a great deal of money. At the end of the day it’s about style, not about designer. The winner mixed and matched and the end result was fabulous.”

The crowds continued to turn out yesterday despite the steady rain — and the show was still busy into the evening as the weather cleared up.

Operations director Rhonda Geary said: “We had an exciting finish to the showjumping Grand Prix, with local rider Conor Swail picking up the £3,500 first prize and also winning the leading rider of the show award.

“People still rolled in all afternoon and there was a packed grandstand for the Bolddog Lings motorcross stunt act.

“We also had a great cattle parade in the arena — it was a real spectacle even in the rain.

“We still have to count receipts, but the feel of the show is that it was very similar to previous years in terms of attendance.”

There were reports that fighting broke out on the balcony of the King’s Hall early in the evening, but security staff quickly moved to quell it and remove any children from the scene.

“There was a bit of boisterous behaviour in the Tudor bar,” Rhonda said.

Dairy champion of champions was Potterswalls Paramount Glamour, owned by the Fleming family of Seaforde, and reserve champion was Relough Goldwyn Danna, owned by Ronald McLean & Sons from Dungannon.

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