More than 300 YFC members showcased skills at NFYFC’s Competitions Day 2023 in July.
Competitors from across England and Wales made it to the national finals at Staffordshire County Showground after competing at County and Area rounds.
Members of all ages had a chance to show off what they had learnt throughout the membership year in front of hundreds of spectators. Traditional competitions such as Fence Erecting and Farm Machinery Skills ran alongside Public Speaking competitions, dancing and Clay Pigeon Shooting.
A team from Wedmore YFC in Somerset impressed the judges with their illuminated Street Dance routine, despite none of them having any previous dancing experience.
Millie from Wedmore said: “We’ve been training extremely hard and this dance was fun. I’ve enjoyed every single minute and I think everyone else has too.”
After regular practises at Glastonbury gym with their trainer and choreographer, the group have become good friends.
“We all started off in Young Farmers, but some people have come [along] new and [we have] become a better friendship group. We talk more and we joke around and it’s been really fun,” added Milly who was concerned their performance might have been affected by some technical issues when their t-shirts didn’t light up as planned.
“We were not expecting to win at all as there had been some bumps, but we were really surprised and grateful,” explained Millie.
NFYFC’s competitions programme is designed to develop industry and rural skills, as well as help YFC members to build confidence, teamwork and friendships. It also helps to raise awareness of key industry issues – such as farm safety.
For the winners of the Farm Machinery Skills competition, Pembrokeshire FYFC, there were prizes to enjoy as well as the much-coveted trophy. The team won a JCB VIP Hospitality tour of the world headquarters and a toolkit, given by competition sponsors KRAMP.
The team, made up of Caryl Bevan, Berwyn Warlow, Rhys Bevan and William Lewis, are all from Llys Y Fran YFC and due to their involvement in farming prioritise this competition above others.
Rhys Bevan, who has been on the winning team five times, said: “We do take it seriously. As well as the first aid, we all have an interest in farm machinery and it’s the only health and safety competition that we [YFC] have that could save your life.”
Will Lewis from the Pembrokeshire team also won the ATV Handling trophy.
The county was also successful in the Junior Reading competition, winning the team trophy and one of its members, Ianto, placing joint first with a member from Leicestershire and Rutland for the Best Reader.
Ianto, Rhys and Owain from Keyston YFC had to read a passage from the book A Secret of Birds and Bone by Kiran Millwood Hargrave in front of an audience and were marked on diction, clarity and presentation.
The team entered the competition as they felt it would be a good steppingstone towards the Public Speaking competitions.
Rhys has competed in Junior Reading four times previously, but this was his first time at a national final. He said: “We thought it flowed well and that we did well, despite some tricky words. We have been practising every night for two hours just going over it.”
Hannah Buisman from Bedfordshire won the Situations Vacant (22-28 years) competition and picked up a goody bag from sponsors ADM Cares.
The competition requires YFC members to go through a ‘fictitious’ job application process, which involves submitting a CV and covering letter before a formal job interview with the judges.
Hannah said: “The competition is very true to life. You do get just as nervous beforehand, or at least I did. You prepare for it as if it’s a real job interview, you present yourself, you make sure you are looking neat and tidy. It has to be taken seriously, especially as you get towards a national level.
“This is my first national, so I’m very happy with the result! I’m really delighted with the award and very proud to have been able to take part.
“I’ve been through lots of job interviews and so I have had a lot of practice, but I am farming on the family farm now and I didn’t need a job interview for that,” said Hannah who pretended to apply for a position as an Event Manager due to previous experience.
“It’s great to have this practice and it’s always good to keep your CV updated. I think that’s a big take away for a lot of members who are taking part.”
While most of the action took place during the day at the Staffordshire County Showground, the Clay Pigeon Shooting final was held at Oakedge Shooting Ground in Staffordshire.
The competition, which is supported by BASC, also has a range of goodies for the winners. Oakedge Shooting Ground give cash prizes for first, second and third placements and those in first and second place also win a pair of Game Fair tickets.
Alexander Collishaw from Lincolnshire won the 28 and under trophy after entering the competition for the first time. Alexander, who regularly shoots on a Sunday with friends, said: “It was a bit of a shock really as I didn’t think I was anywhere near the top score. It’s nice to win something but it is just a hobby.”
The 17 and under winner Archie from Norfolk was also a first-time entrant but has been familiar with the sport all his life due to his family’s involvement. Archie also posted
Archie, who also posted the highest score of the day across all junior and senior competitors, said: “It was a really good course and some good targets. I shoot regularly at a high level and I’d quite like to pursue it.”
Competitions Day wouldn’t be possible without the support of many businesses, including Rea Valley Tractors, Arley Medical Services, CFMOTO UK, JCB, RJ ATV and EstateWire. Sponsors included KRAMP, ADM Cares and IAE.