National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 May 2017

Putting on a successful rally takes more than just finding a farm to host it. There’s a whole load of planning and stress that goes into creating a fun day that involves all of the clubs in your county

It’s a great test of skills for the members of YFCs who every year roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to planning and preparing these major events that showcase all that is great about Young Farmers’ Clubs.

To find out what it takes to host a great rally, meet Alice Wood, 2017 Rally Chairman for County Durham Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) who can speak from experience after just completing her event at the weekend. It all ended in tears of happiness for Alice, as not only did she do a grand job – but her club Staindrop YFC also won the rally!

How long has County Durham FYFC been hosting a rally?

Around 80 years! The county has just celebrated its 85th Anniversary, but rally days may have been going on for a lot longer than we think.

How many people were involved in organising it? And how did you choose the rally chairman?

A different club is chosen to host the rally every year and this year it was my club Staindrop YFC. I have wanted to be Rally Chairman and win the rally day for a long time and everyone was happy for me to do it, which was overwhelming. I am an active member of the Club – I have been secretary for two years – and enjoy organising events. I worked with a core committee of eight people but also had the support of the rest of the Club and our County officials, such as County Chairman and County Secretary.

Did you make much money? And if so how did you go about raising money on the day?

The rally day was non-profitable but the evening rally dance raised money. Proceeds from the bar went towards County funds, and the Club took a percentage of the door takings.

Do you have any involvement from sponsors? If so how do you go about attracting these?

We had four sponsors for the day. Carrs Billington and Lloyds provided machinery for our active classes. Sponsorship from an animal waste company enabled us to get rally rugby shirts for Club members and we had a sponsor for skip hire for the day. We are very active within the local community and a lot of our members work in these companies, which made it easier to approach them for support.

How did you choose your location and what did you need to do in advance to get it ready?

We hosted the rally at Barnard Castle, where I had always planned to hold the event. Staindrop members washed out its main shed as it had been used during lambing. We also painted doors to make the venue look smart. We swept the yards, brought tables, chairs, fencing, electric cables and much more. We received a lot of compliments about the farm being so clean and tidy and well organised. We even got compliments for the marked out spaces on the car park field.

When did you start planning the rally?

We started as soon as the 2016 rally finished but our first meeting was in August 2016.

What did your rally involve in terms of activities and any evening entertainment?

We had a range of activities including an exhibition hall with baking, crafts, metal work, photography, cube exhibit and much more. There were active classes including efficiency with safety, UTV handling, rope a trailer, mini digger driving, vintage tractor handling, change a wheel, mystery judging, Bushtucker trial, flower arranging, bale stacking and much more. We also had sports such as welly wanging, 100m, cross country, dumpy bag race and tug of war. We held a rally dance on the night in the main shed where a lot of the members attended and it was a fabulous night. A great way to celebrate lots of prizes throughout the day.

Did you invite the public? If so, how many attended?

The event was open to members and their friends and family. We also had around 80 judges and stewards and I was very grateful for their help on the day. The rally dance was open to members and non-members, and the non-members paid a slightly increased ticket price. The prices were still low but it encouraged people to become a YFC member.

How many overall came to the rally?

All nine clubs attended the rally. Our clubs vary in size from 10 members to 70. We are one of the smallest Clubs in NFYFC so to have around 85% attendance from our members is absolutely fantastic. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed rally day. Hearing lovely comments from spectators, members, judges, stewards and county officials made me very happy as it meant I had done a good job.

What would your three top tips be for hosting a successful rally? 

  1. Make sure you have an idea of what you want the event to look like on the day. If you don't have a goal you won't get there!
  2. Stay calm and enjoy. Organising an event like a rally can be very stressful, but the end result is so rewarding. If you have everything planned well, you will enjoy your day hassle free and get to see everyone having fun and competing. 
  3. Get your club involved as much as they can. Have a great committee who are eager to help in every way possible. Make sure junior members feel involved as they are the future of Young Farmers. 

Find out more information about County Durham Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs.


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