A crowd of over 150 people attended the launch of the 2008 Roscommon Ploughing Championships last week in The Hodson Bay Hotel. This year the championships willl be held at the farm of Eamonn and Helen Leonard of Ardmullen, Kiltoom and it promises to be the biggest and best championships held to date. The event takes place on Sunday next, 6th of April, 2008. This year’s event will be officially opened by former Roscommon county footballer and Kiltoom resident Gerry O’Malley. The site provides a large ploughing area, spacious trade stand, viewing area, crafts tent area, children’s amusements and ample parking space alongside. This year the two major sponsors are local companies, 1 Base 4 Building, (Joe McCarthy and Shane Curran) and the Hodson Bay Hotel Group. MC at the launch was Mr. Padraig Nolan who informed those in attendance that the Roscommon Ploughing Championships were now one of the biggest such events in the country and that expectations were that this year would see the biggest event being held yet. PRO Donal Haughey listed all the events that would be taking place on the day. Total prize-money for this year’s event will be close to the €10,000 mark. There are eight ploughing classes from senior to vintage. Classes will include senior open class, 3 furrow standard, under 21 and under 28, farmerette class for the ladies, 2 and 3 furrow class, horse classes, junior class and vintage class. There will be a plough operated by manpower which is the first time that this will have been tried anywhere. There will be entertainment of all types including ceili music and old-time waltzing (entertainment by Tom Brady and also by the Clare Ramblers). There will also be amusements for the children including bouncing castles, slides and other attractions. There will be a special lamb demonstration in connection with the forthcoming Lamb Festival in Roscommon Town and Agri-Aware will also have a special demonstration/display on the day. A whole lamb will be spit-roasted in the open-air by chef Chris Reilly and tasting of the roasted lamb will be at 2 pm. There will be vintage and horse classes, tractor competitions, and a huge machinery and trade display, sheepdog trials (under guidance of local man Barra O’Brien), dog shows, and a model farm exhibition. The dog show this year will feature a total of 15 classes. The Roscommon Hunt will stage a chase and time trials on the day. There will be a major craft village display, Tug O’War and many other attractions. The Rose of the Plough will also be picked on the day and that has been a huge success in recent years. So there is literally something for all ages at the 2008 Roscommon Ploughing Championships – so make sure that you come along on the day!