Bill Bows Out After More Than Six Decades At The Show

 In 2021

This year’s show will be the final appearance for one man with two unique links to the event.

Bill Carney has been a keen visitor to the show for decades, both in his role as a former showjumper and as a pigeon judge, but now in his mid eighties has decided to make the 2021 event his last.

Bill was brought up on a farm with both horses and pigeons playing a major part in his life. His father was a keen horseman and pigeon racer and built Bill his first loft when he was nine so that he could start to race his first two pigeons.

He said: “My father would inspect them on a Friday night and if he didn’t feel that they were good enough to win, he would not let me race them the following day.”

His love of pigeons continued apace and after racing them throughout the 1940s, he started his judging career in the 1950s, going on to judge at shows in 11 countries. He will continue the tradition when he inspects the show racers at this year’s show.

Bill’s other passion was for show jumping and he attended his first local show aged six. Having gained a fourth place, he got home to realise he had lost his rosette so cycled all the way back to the showground to retrieve eventually it from a horse trough.

He was one of the early winners of the show’s famous Cock O’ The North competition, riding Sweet William, and in his best season he won 29 BSJA championships and 91 firsts.

He worked hard, training four hours a day, seven days a week, on top of his farm work. He said: “If we had not had a good day’s jumping at the show, I used to take my gymkhana pony and enter those classes to win enough money to go to the next show.”

He is sad to be saying farewell to the Great Yorkshire Show but admits that the distance from his home in Warwickshire is now becoming too much for him. “I think the Great Yorkshire is one of the best agricultural shows in the country and I will miss it,” he said.

Last year’s Show was cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions. Instead, it went virtual over three days last July, attracting viewers from more than 40 different countries.

The 162nd Great Yorkshire Show will take place over four days for the first time in its history, from Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th July, 8am to 5pm.

Tickets are sold in advance only. Please go to:



  • The Great Yorkshire Show is England’s premier agricultural event, organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity supporting rural Yorkshire.
  • YAS supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and scientific research.
  • The Society is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show, Countryside Live and Springtime Live.
  • Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.


Jo Francisco
PR Manager
Direct Line: 01423 546215 | Mobile: 07954 007414

Sara Lamper
Great Yorkshire Show Press Officer
Mobile: 07759 795990

Bill Carney’s final Great Yorkshire Show


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