Following the Lindsey Trail

The Lindsey Trail is a new route in the Lincolnshire Wolds which is designed for walkers, cyclists, riders and carriage drivers. It opened in June 2012 and Inharness magazine #23 is featuring it with views from two drivers who have already travelled along it. You can find out more and dowload a leaflet and maps of the Lindsey Trail from

In June Stephanie Dale of Cotswold Carriage Driving,, spent three days exploring and in August Sheenagha Lee-Farrah decided to drive it in its entirety and to raise money for her favourite charity at the same time.


This is Sheenagha’s diary: 13 August 2012 – “AT THE START”

After setting up camp at Atinas Stud, Aswarby, (breeders of section C and D Welsh Cobs) on the Sunday tea-time, Debs and I sat down to a much-needed cuppa and cold meat salad tea. All 7 dogs we had with us were settled and Rosie had grazed a little on arrival, then had a wash, rug on (more to stop midges biting than to keep her clean or warm). She had her supper and night cap of haylage net, and we never heard another peep out of any animal after that. We sat outside the lorry for some time, watching the odd farm vehicle go by with its load on, and then we also retired to the box.
DAY 1: Willingham Woods Picnic Area
Not quite up with the lark but up with the wimper of baby lurcher waiting to do his early morning tiddle. 5.40a.m. And so the day began, somewhat earlier than planned but, hey ho, Debs cooked a mean full English for us whilst Rosie and I had a refreshing shower (well, the trough and some shower gel), she had her breakfast and we ate ours.
As the start of this trail was a few miles away we had to rearrange the lorry from being our sleeping quarters to once again being a horse and carriage lorry – no mean feat at 8 a.m. – but it was done and we left for Willingham Woods to start our adventure.
On our arrival there were so many people parked up just to walk dogs through the woods or for a cuppa and burger from the permanent snack bar built there or, of course, to use the toilets. Anyway, I decided to strike whilst I could for a quick whip-round collection for Marie Curie. So I rapidly harnessed Rosie and put-to and walked through the car park, shouting in my dulcet tones “I’m doing 75 miles for Marie Curie charity”. Well people came over to the carriage and dropped change into my official bucket! I was chuffed with the response so, as I saw a bus pull up, I half halted and waited for the passengers to find their purses! “Well done and thank you everyone.”
In the meantime Debs and I were also joined by a lady who we affectionately call ‘Auntie Kim’. She had driven from South Witham, nr. Grantham, to the start line to help us collect ourselves and took a large amount of photos on her Ipad (posh). After thanking everyone I was escorted over the road and the challenge began…..
Oooooh a little worried as I was waved goodbye, but soon chilled out and accompanying me and Rosie was my ever-faithful little terrier Tuppence who loved it all until, 5 miles into the drive, found that the terrain got a little bumpy and she was bounced off into the undergrowth. I whoad up my steed, jumped off and collected a rather shocked Tuppence and popped her back up on the seat! Weather –yep – great, not hot and a slight breeze to keep the flies at bay. Rosie was very eager and we soon covered 9 miles, having done off- and on-road beautifully. 10 miles, 11 miles and then at 12 miles I was getting a sore butt and got off to walk maybe half a mile before getting back on the carriage. Everywhere had names from tin sheds to areas of shrubland. Anyway I saw the sign Legsby – how nice a hamlet it was. It had a lovely display of private gardens at the houses and a church with an entrance that was fit for all marriage photography, then, before I knew where I was I was coming up along the main road to Willingham Forest and phoning for help to be escorted back over the main road again. Whilst I was washing Rosie down people were coming and placing money in the collection bucket and taking photos. It was a pleasant first day. ‘Well done Rosie, my dear pony.’
Day 2:
After a night of heavy rain, we woke to a beautiful morning, heat already in the sun and a nice breeze keeping flies at bay. We headed up to next stop and Debs and I said our goodbyes for a few hours and confirmed our meeting up place. Hainton was our starting place roughly, well the public house we decided to unload at, as it was safe (as combining was in full swing and the roads were very narrow. We thought it best to keep out of the way). Then we went straight to South Willingham – then to Biscathorpe, which was road way, until we hit off-road at Gayton le Wold which went all the way to Glebe Farm, to Manor Farm, where there was a small amount of roadway, then tracks to Cawkwell. There we had a harness break and enjoyed the views and a nice cup of flavoured water. Rosie had a grass snack for 15 minutes then was tethered up to rest awhile under a tree, before setting off again. Now on our way to Belchford Hill and finish at Tetford Hill for the day.
Up with the sunshine once again, feeling very fresh and ready to drive more off- road today than on-road according to my next map. Today’s area covers Lusby, Hareby, Miningsby, Hameringham, Greetham, Ashby Puerorum –the boot-shape part of the trial and the lowest part of the map.
It was all the hills I had been warned about but Rosie just put shoulders into her harness and pulled us up to the tops! The village people were mowing lawns, cutting hedges and, as I walked through the villages, I stopped to talk and explain my intentions. On hearing what I was doing many people went into their homes and brought change out for the collection box. I’d bid them good day and walk on.
I came to my first obstacle just through the hamlet of Hareby – ROAD CLOSED! Oh no! I stopped Rosie, tethered her whilst I worked out my next move. A pipeline was being laid, I was told, from one side of the Wolds roughly to the other. I had to go 5 miles around the diversion to meet up with the trail again – oooow!!! I decided to carry on and change my GPS until I was back on the trail.
The rest of the day was a beautiful eye-filling experience. Taking just the milage alone we did 19 miles today and 2 fords which, although weren’t deep, were moving and I’m sure a welcome for Rosie’s tired feet.
As we are camping now at Aswarby (Atinas Stud) owned by Mike and Anita Shuksmith, it was time to relax with my ‘chef d’equippe’ Debs, who was feeding me, making the packups (picnic), walking the 7 dogs who were camping with us AND finding time to prep the stabling for Rosie – what team work!
Day 4:
By now it is Thursday and although the GPS told me that there are 18 miles remaining, I had worked out in total I would have to drive 22-23 miles if I was to complete it, actually adding a couple of miles here and there for the diversion to the pipelines. With this in mind, I left at 9am to drive until I thought that Rosie had done enough for one day. ‘Oh Rosie – not her!’ Five hours later we had rested awhile at where I thought halfway would be, in a quiet village on farmland near Belchford Hill. Rosie was still ready and raring to go and standing about wasn’t for long. I restarted the GPS and it said ‘9 miles to end of destination’. Oh my goodness! I texted Debs and gave her an update and said I was going to get closer to home and then I’d ring her and she could come with the lorry and fetch me but, 10 minutes later –‘ ROAD CLOSED – PIPELINE’! I asked a tractor driver if I was anywhere near a track that meant I wouldn’t have to turn around. He directed me to a purple sign with a carriage on it at the end of the farmyard and gave me permission to go through his farmyard after I promised not to tell anyone else. I was so relieved! I had only gone an extra mile from the trail route and we got back on track. I rechecked my GPS (which had brilliant reception the whole week and saved me a few times where the Lindsey Trail stickers had been tampered with in villages) and 2 and a quarter hours later I found that I was so near the end of the trail, I may as well complete it today.
South Ormsby School was my finish point and I had the feeling of such delight when there it was on the screen of my GPS ‘ 3.7 miles and you have reached your destination’. ‘Yo yo yo! We have nearly done it Rosie’ who, at this point had had a second wind and was pulling like a steam train again. It was, to me, like winning an Olympic Gold medal – well, Rosie anyway…..
More, more …..
I would just like to add – fords – piggeries – slurry lorries – combine harvesters – corn tractors – cyclists – motorhomes – caravans – dog walkers – children waving and lovely countryside people with wishes of donations to our Marie Curie buckets, are all part of my 75 mile trial on the Lindsey Trail, but not once did I see, near or far, another carriage driver or horse rider! Mad! Crazy! This is such a beautiful part of the country (the Lincolnshire Wolds)! Get tacked up or harnessed up and put-to and get out there and use it! THE LINDSEY WAY, 2012
With grateful thanks for donations to enhance this trip:
M.K.G. Birmingham – who donated 2 crates of bottled water and a slab of Caramel shortcake (for the volunteer helpers en route)
Sheenagha’s local Carrot Man – who donated a fresh net of carrots
Foster & Law Solicitors of Long Sutton – Donated Rosettes for anyone joining this trip. Also they donated a beautiful woollen rug for Rosie to wear in the evening
BDS – Rosettes – 2012 Golden Jubilee
Carrington Village Hall Wednesday evening Auction – had a collection raising over £41.
Mike and Anita Shuksmith, Atinas Stud – who provided camping area and unlimited moral and physical support.
And not forgetting all our donors on the sponsor forms…

With thanks to Clare Caldicott.



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Sandringham horse driving trials – a double delight

29 June to 1 July

Over 130 competitors and friends celebrated the fact that they could get their lorries, trailers and caravans and tents on the sandy well-drained turf of this scenic Royal Estate in West Norfolk after several weeks of wild wet weather. A breezy week had the advantage of drying the ground here even though the wind showed no mercy to insecure headgear.

There were ups and downs in almost all classes at the well supported national event and the parallel East Anglian Carriage Driving Group’s club competition and this was an important selection event for the horse teams, singles, and para-drivers. An international element was introduced by Australians Mark Peel, driving Boyd Exell’s “commercial” horses (expertly) and Jessica Meredith with her horse pair in the club competition as well as Boyd himself, the reigning World Champion Horse Four-in-hand Driver, and Lorraine Cairns and Elizabeth Lawrence in advanced horse class, and Hungarian Istavan Nyul driving Christine Jamieson’s team in the national.

Two para-drivers joined the club, too, all the way from Scotland, Charlotte Thomson and Graham Smith, with Amanda Saville of Chariots of Fire. Five para-drivers vied in the national event and for selection to the team representing GB at the World Para-Drivers Championship in the Netherlands, 30 August – 2 September.

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Friday was dressage day for the national drivers and Saturday was their marathon day comprising a cross-country course and eight “obstacles”. All the obstacles are solidly purpose-built and offer challenging choices of routes round posts, bridges, water splashes and trees. The club ran its dressage and cones on Saturday and afterwards many people enjoyed watching the national drivers go round the marathon obstacles. Sunday was the national’s nail-bitingly gripping cones competition while the club held its marathon using six of the same obstacles. This facility enables aspiring club drivers to match their times against similar turnouts in the higher level event and encourages them to take the next step.

In the horse four-in-hand class Boyd Exell took two teams round the dressage arena, the second hors concours (“outside the competition”, so the score does not count), seeking the right combination for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen (which he won) the following week. Georgina Hunt’s wheeler caused concern to judge Diana Brownlie and Georgina changed horses and completed the competition hors concours. Wilf Bowman-Ripley overcame his gremlins – a turnover at his “home”, Ashfields, in May – and his typical strong marathon gave the win he needed, Pippa Bassett a close second with “Devil’s Horseman” Daniel Naprous third. Boyd’s storming marathon came unstuck when he missed a gate in the last obstacle and he was eliminated. Mark Peel of Australia drove Boyd’s black and white “commercial” horses smoothly in all phases. They were the only horses he could use and he’d trained them well: weddings and funerals will never be the same.

Twelve-year-old “local” Grace Smith was the only junior in the national and FEI rules meant she drove only three obstacles although last year she drove six and won her class in the club event. She joins the GB squad travelling to the Junior World Championships in Austria.

The smallest ponies taking part were the East Anglian Carriage Driving Group’s Janet Sycamore’s miniature Shetland pair, Sooty and Sweep, and in the national Michael Hodgson gave a polished performance with his team of full-sized Shetlands – attracting royal interest – but missed a cone… Sara Howe was the winner of the pony fours from Susan Skeggs. Joseph Adams took the open pony pairs title and Emma Burge kept ahead of Rita McGregor in the advanced pairs, despite Rita’s speedy marathon.

In the national single horse classes, Matt Were went home to change horses after a minor incident and hauled his piebald out of the field (literally), coming third behind Ellen Littlechild and Sonny Hillier, the winner, in the 11-strong open class. Carole Redgrave and Marisa Pinnock tussled in the novice horse class, Carole victorious this time. Terry Bailey led all the way in the intermediate class, winning by almost 30 penalties. Ben Grose led overnight in the advanced horse class before the cones phase, when Jock McFarlane’s double-clear round put him in front by one penalty: just five penalties lay between Jock and fifth place.

In the advanced horse pairs Barry Capstick, Ireland, was almost 40 penalties ahead. Pat Cooper won the horse tandem class from David Taylor and Fred Pendlebury, the last uncharacteristically eliminated in the cones – as were several more drivers.

“Most surprised and delighted” winner was Inharness reader Linda Hill on winning intermediate pony class: only six penalties separated all four drivers. Tracey Fletcher was eight penalties clear of Katie Eyres in open pony. Sue Mart of Bennington Carriages took the pressure of leading in advanced pony class, Nicola Blandin coming second, but not giving an inch.

“We’ve had such a great time!” said Amanda Saville of Chariots of Fire, who went round with para-drivers Charlotte Thomson and Graham Smith. “This was a big thing for Charlotte and Graham and it was a lot of fun. Charlotte is totally addicted to driving; it’s all she wants to do.”

Five of the para-driving squad drove in the national event contesting for Team GB places at the FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships, Breda, Netherlands, at the end of August. Deborah Daniel topped the class with Mick Ward second, driving Angela Flanagan’s Double Cream. Lucy Barclay, third, is also on the squad. Heather Clark completed but Lindsey Paice (nee Tyas) was unfortunately eliminated in the cones phase, however she will drive as an individual.

Wallace Cameron sponsored the national event and gave generous prizes of first-aid kits. Horse First donated prizes for the marathon.

In a season that has so far been hard hit by the weather and ground conditions, those who enjoyed Sandringham as participants – 130 turnouts – or spectators had a rare treat of a (mostly) dry weekend and exciting sporting entertainment.

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British prize winners at Chateau de Cuts traditional driving event

Chateau de Cuts, 26-27 May

When Wallace Binder, 76, and his wife Eunice left Ipswich last week with their Welsh horse Llanwnda Winston and newly restored 1883 dog cart, they went with friends just to enjoy their first French driving competition. They had visited an attelage de tradition nearby last year and planned this trip for some time and even a two-hour breakdown on the French motorway did not dent their enthusiasm.

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Chateau de Cuts, north of Paris, is the most prestigious international Attelage de Tradition and a popular social event. Among 69 exquisite turnouts were entries from ten countries, from Dartmoor ponies to Normandy cobs and the coaching horses – and a lone yet determinedly audibly evident donkey. All were judged on presentation, on skill tests performed on a 15km road drive and on completing a timed course of cones.

The single horse class was the largest with 22 seasoned competitors and Mr Binder beat them all with a seven-penalty lead, learning of his victory at the prize-giving ceremony in front of all the competitors and an enthusiastic crowd. “How can we top that?” said Mr Binder, who has had some success in the show ring with his wife’s 19-year-old horse. “He’s not an easy horse: a typical Welsh cob,” said Eunice, who has owned Winston since he was two. Eunice is the British Driving Society Area Commissioner for Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon and is an enthusiastic founder of the attelage de tradition format in the UK.

Rosemary Neale of Huntingdon also triumphed with her 13.2 hand ten-year-old Welsh pony Tycwm Sebastian to a restored Norfolk country cart. Rosemary was accompanied by her partner Martin Wilkinson, the master saddler. Rosemary enjoys showing and indoor horse driving trials with Seb, and started a series of indoor events at Shuttleworth College last winter. She is the National Reserve Champion Veteran Driver with Seb and Martin, too.

Belgium-based Danielle van der Wiel took part in the tandem class in style with two Andalusian horses from her team and a borrowed carriage. Danielle formerly lived in Essex and was the BDS Area Commissioner at one time. Danielle’s husband, Henk van der Wiel, is also a top competitive driver, horseman and a world famous harness maker. She made up her tandem harness from parts of her team harness as she says her husband never has time to make her a proper set. Her terrier also enjoyed the trip, at her feet.

Top show driver and scurry supremo Jeff Osborne with his cob The Poacher also took part in the single horse class, as did Caroline Douglas and Liz Jarman. Steve Jarman drove his road coach to come second in the coach class behind a spectacular Spanish entry – which had to be pushed by its elegant passengers over the soft ground at one point.

There was a side-saddle “hunting” tandem, a tiny pony in a pretty little four-wheeler and some fantastic hats and parasols as well as many smart liveried grooms. The three presentation judges on Saturday must have had a hard job as they examined every turnout and gave marks for the harness, the carriage and the overall impression.

The knowledgeable crowd loved the whole spectacle and the sight of the horses in the grounds of the Chateau de Cuts was truly fabulous.

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BHDTA National & Points League Champions 2011

It is many a driver’s dream to achieve a National Champion’s title and there are some titles that you can only hold once in a lifetime, such as the National Novice Driver, which makes them all the more precious.

Every title, every ribbon and sash and trophy is hard-won, the result of many years of “blood, sweat and tears”, if not literally then in terms of effort, time, patience, repetition, practice, expense and training, training, training. Every Champion has their Reserve, someone who has worked just as hard, and there are the others in the line-up, ponies, horses, drivers, grooms, family, friends and sponsors, who share in all the ups and downs of sporting achievement and put just as much into competing as the person holding the reins.

Inharness magazine celebrates the Champions of the BHDTA National Championships and of the points leagues of 2011. We are sorry we do not have pictures of everyone yet we hope you will enjoy this gallery.

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Driving Back to Sport – Day 4 – Fenix Carriage Driving Centre

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Kathryn Howard reports on the penultimate day of her training.

“The fourth meeting of the Driving Back to Sport series opened with a beautiful spring morning on the top of the picturesque Blackdown Hills at the Fenix Carriage Driving Centre. Day four concentrated on a third discipline, the marathon phase of horse driving trials.

The morning began with David Brown giving a talk about the theory of the marathon phase. Attendees looked at the marathon carriage in detail, considered the marathon groom’s turnout and discussed preparation for this stage of a horse driving trials competition. David was joined by British team vet Anja Walker who offered invaluable advice on preparation of the horse ahead of this phase, the compulsory halt section and provided informative handouts.

The group walked both a permanent driving trials obstacle and an indoor style obstacle set on the arena. All were then given the chance to backstep for 2008 open single horse UK champion Joanna Broadbent and her world-class horse Alex as both drove the Fenix ‘Castle’ obstacle.  This opportunity allowed the drivers to gain an understanding of how an obstacle feels to a back stepper putting the theory learnt into practice.  After a lunch break in the sun; spent walking the indoor HDT style obstacle, Fenix’s trusty lesson pony Topper and helping pony for that day, Charlie, were brought out to give the group a chance to drive. Unbeknown to the group each drive was timed and with all members driving twice everybody could note their best time; a surprise to all. All were very proud of the significant improvement made.

The day finished with the sun still shining as Mark gave the group an enlightening tour of the carriage building workshops and all had a special sneak preview of the nearly finished restoration of an 1880 Park Drag which will not be seen by the public until Windsor 2012. It made a delightful end to what had been a glorious day attended by enthusiastic new additions to the carriage driving world.

“Thanks for another fantastic day! I’m hooked,” Georgina Bartlett

“It has been a pleasure to work with all members of my coaching group, it is great to have inspired and improved  skills and I look forward to continuing the extended training they have requested as a group.” said Mark Broadbent, Fenix Carriages.

The next and final event will be held at Fenix Carriages on 18th April when the Driving Back to Sport group will be able to see a morning demonstration of all disciplines by Mark and his own stunning coaching and driving trials team.  The afternoon will be spent taking requests for what group members would like to go over. Harnessing up a popular option. The evening will bring all attendees together for a celebratory drink and talk from Sport England.

Find out more or register your interest in becoming a ‘Sport Maker’ from Lucy Cooper at Instinctive PR, 01403 712552,

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Ashfields 9 April – Shortened marathon no bar to para-drivers

The first selection event for the 2012 Para-Drivers World Championships took place at the East Anglia Carriage Driving Group’s one-day event at Ashfields, Essex. Keen to make their mark with selectors, Lindsey Tyas, Mick Ward and Deborah Daniel were undaunted by torrential rain that meant their marathon section was shortened and obstacles reduced from six to three.

With all three drivers competing with new horses Lindsey struck up an early lead in the dressage, scoring 42.84. Mick also achieved a sub-50 mark (49.79) while Deborah had a bit of catching up to do on the leader with a mark of 55.14.

However, she and her own Valeside Galaxy – a seven-year-old grey Welsh Section C pony – went better in the cones section, having just one down at the expense of 6.34 time penalties and then pulled out all the stops to record the fastest obstacle times of the class (42.56). Despite her efforts this still left her in arrears as Lindsey, driving Angela Flanagan’s Charlie Cash, retained her lead after the first two phases and had enough in hand in the obstacles (45.74) to stay in front.

Mick, driving another of Angela’s horses, Double Cream, stayed in second place throughout. The para-drivers were closely watched by Team Trainer Sarah Howe, Chef d’Equipe Rachel Belliere-Wilson and Assistant Chef Chris Van Reen who all helped during the preceding two-day training camp.

The next selection event takes place at the Midlands Driving Trials Group-organised Tutbury two-day competition on 12 and 13 May, followed by Sandringham on 29-30 June and 1 July. The 2012 Para-Drivers World Championships will be held at Breda, Netherlands, from 31 August to 2 September.

Press release issued on behalf of Carriage Driving Sports Group for disabled drivers by Kingswood Associates

Contact Wendy Peckham Tel: 01205 480190 Mob: 07973 218834


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Carriage Fair 2012 – new venue, new acts, new people

What a great spectacle! Brockham Harness Club committee and members know how to put on a good show, and this year’s Carriage Fair proved the point emphatically. Despite a new – although familiar – venue, the enormous indoor arena at Merrist Wood College near Guildford, the show went as smoothly as ever and included a variety of absorbing, thrilling, informing, entertaining and exciting “acts” covering a wide range of equestrian activities. Whatever your interest, there were lots of entertaining displays in front of the huge balcony and seated viewing area.

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Ring guard Bob Elliot opened ceremonies and the Devil’s Horsemen warmed up the proceedings. Gary Docking shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the Hackney ponies in harness and later on discussed the influence of British native breeds on the world of private driving; British Young Drivers demonstrated they can ride, jump and drive; the Sussex Lusitanos danced followed by the scurry pairs thrilling, hurtling round a tight course of cones. Stella Hancock’s disabled drivers did a display and UKcc coaches presented the “Driving back to sport” scheme, which aims to attract people into driving and involvement with horse driving trials. There were trade turnouts, Shetland pony driving, heavy horses and even dog agility and medieval knights to admire. The horse driving arena challenge, with top four-in-hand drivers Pippa Bassett, Dick Lane, Devils Horsemen’s Daniel Naprous and World Champion Boyd Exell was one of the most exciting spectacles with a warm-up round and the finale at the end of the day. Between rounds, Boyd gave a public four-in-hand lesson to David Broome, CBE, who has taken to driving enthusiastically after his world-class show-jumping career. Outside, despite the blustery conditions, the “Suck it and see” driving sessions were fully booked, with queues of people of all ages keen to have a go.

There were some well-stocked trade stands including Fenix Carriages, Bennington and CRS Carriages, Jack-in-a-Box, BYD fund-raising and BHDTA Chairman Jock Macfarlane and Treasurer David Titmuss were busily drumming up interest (with a discounted first-timer joining fee). Whether you like Shetlands or Shires, you could join the BDS or buy a bag of fudge – there was “something for everyone”. You could have come home with everything bar the horse – including magazines Carriage Driving and Inharness for further reading.

The person with the most exciting memory of the day – among many contenders – was surely the winner of the “backstep for Boyd” prize, which was very popular among those brave and athletic members of the audience on the day. The National Anthem played two verses to bring the show to a close.

Event Director and Brockham Harness Club Chairman Nigel Dipple was very pleased the day went well and with the numbers attending, “There were a lot of new faces.” The balcony seats sold out well in advance and the viewing areas were packed throughout the day. It’s also a new date – formerly the event was held in early March – and this may be bringing more people through the door. He’s already planning next year’s extravaganza!

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