The CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall was the first for two years after the rains of 2012 meant the ground at Belvoir Castle was too wet to build on. This year, though, temperatures remained high all weekend, and there was plenty going on across the 900 exhibitor stands to keep visitors busy over the three days.
The Game and Wildlife Conservation trust ran events across all three days, launching the new Campaign for Game to the shooting press on the Friday morning, and hosting minister Richard Benyon for the Julian Gardner wildlife photography awards. Dr Andrew Hoodless gave a speech updating everyone on the woodcock watch project, while exhibits on rearing pheasant chicks and predator control were backed up by big information boards and staffed by knowledgeable GWCT members.
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation again awarded the Frank Jenkins trophy to the best gamekeeping student, which this year was won by Anthony Orr of Askhan Bryan College. He said of winning the award, “Gamekeeping is in my blood. My dad, uncle and younger brother are all gamekeepers, so it is wonderful to win the Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy.
“I know my future lies with upland birds. That’s my passion. I just love the whole way of life, the outdoors. I’d be lost without the shooting season. My dream in 20 years’ time is to be an upland keeper, running a successful shoot.”
The CPSA Champion of Champions clay shooting competition was won by Paul Wilkinson after a tense final shoot-off, and gundog and eventing champions were crowned in the main arena. The BASC stand was also a busy one, with the BASC and Sporting Rifle trophy measuring service attracting huge support from stalkers. The team had measured up over 60 heads, including six gold and two platinum roebuck, and an interesting wild boar.