Winning the Men’s Tug of War competition at Tenbury Countryside Show in August meant more to the Devon County team than anyone could know.

Their coach is seriously ill and has been unable to train them in the weeks leading up to the event. “It was a really big thing for us to come away with the win,” said team member Kevin Davis. "We wanted to do it for him and I think that’s what pushed us to work so hard. So when we did win, it was massively overwhelming and an emotional time for us.”

The team has been training twice a week throughout the summer, with many also pulling for other tug of war teams outside of Young Farmers. Kevin has been a member of Culm Valley YFC for 16 years and has been pulling for 15, meaning that this is his last year of YFC competitions.

It’s not the end of his tug of war career, though, as he looks to continue in the sport outside of Young Farmers. But nothing is likely to beat the emotion of this year’s win at Tenbury.

“It was what we all wanted but we didn’t think it would happen,” he said. “But we did it!”

Read more: Outdoor pursuits the go for junior Dorset Young Farmers

Meanwhile, Melton Mowbray YFC continued their progress by coming top in the women’s event – having come second last year and third the year before.

“It has spurred us on to do better,” said Olivia Burfoot. “The target this year was definitely to win it.”

The team embarked on a gruelling training regime of pulling on a rig twice a week, running once a week and competing in tug of war competitions to get experience of a live pull. “Winning felt amazing – all the hard work has paid off,” added Olivia. “We’ve all got at least one more year left. Some of the girls had said that they would retire if we came first but that’s no longer the case – they definitely want to win it again!”

In the GENSB competition, Eardisley YFC from Herefordshire have been training with another tug of war team to improve their performance.

“We won last year so we were becoming the club to beat, which put a bit of pressure on us. So we just had to show why we won last year. There was no sense of complacency. We knew we had to come in and do the job again,” said Thomas Barker. “We were very pleased to win it. We had a bit of a bad start, losing a few ends and didn't think we’d get to the final but then we did.”

NFYFC is extremely grateful to the Tenbury Countryside Show for enabling the Federation to host its national final during the show.