We headed off to explore the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd on Wednesday. Previous Fulbrighters had told us that the Royal Welsh Show was their favorite experience from their trip to Wales and the outing did not disappoint. Tens of thousands of people gathered at the festival to see the agricultural, environmental and cultural stands and shops throughout the fair grounds. The event is also used as outreach to Wales’ rural community by government bodies, unions and media outlets. Of course, the best part was the sheep.
After a morning of wading through some of the shops and stands we headed over to the Welsh Assembly stall around noon to meet with their community outreach team to talk about how the Assembly engages with the local communities of Wales. We also watched a short debate on the Future Generations Bill that is currently being debated in the Senneth. The short meeting actually turned out to be pretty useful. I ended up getting a bunch of assembly and committee reports on housing and the environment that will be invaluable when it comes to writing my papers for the academic side of the course.
After our meeting at the Assembly stand we headed over to the Grandstand to catch the tail end of the afternoon show. When we arrived there was a horse pageant competition going on. We also got to see a sheep dog in training and and a horse riding exercise by the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
My Favorite part of the day was seeing the “Sheeptacular” show. The show brought different types of sheep from all over Wales (and even one from Scotland) together on the stage and talked about the unique characteristics of each sheep and what they are raised for. The hosts brother also gave a sheep sheering demonstration which was really interesting to watch. At the end I grouped up with the children to get my picture taken in front of the sheep.
As the day drew to a close we caught the final evening show at the Grandstand. We got to see the semi-finals for the horse trotting competition, but the coolest part was seeing the White Hats group do motorcycle stunts on some sweet vintage Triumph bikes. The White Hats used to do stunt riding on horses, but when the motorcycle replace the horse in the mid-20th century, the Royal Welch soldiers switched to the Triumph. The most impressive part is motorcycle stunts are only their part time hobby: the Royal Welch soldiers practice in between their physical training and military duty.
I can definitely see why past Fulbrighters would say the Royal Welsh Show was their favorite outing. The show was a great way to explore the Welsh countryside and see the agricultural aspects of Mid-Wales.