Any trace of the unsavoury weather which has plagued the
beginning of 2014 in Queenstown disappeared on Saturday for
the 99th Lake Hayes A&P Show.
Queues for ice creams grew longer as the day went on before
the crowd's attention focused on the lawnmower races.
Commentators, including television weather man Jim Hickey,
repeatedly reminded competitors there would be no
''fisticuffs'', ''bad blood'' or ''skulduggery'' this year,
after a race in 2012 turned physical and became international
Queenstown multisport athlete Steve Gurney entered both the
push and ride-on races with veterinarian Geoff Woodhouse on
their custom mower - a mix of a tandem bicycle and push
They were beaten in the push race and, after a promising
practice run in the ride-on race, their mower became detached
during the official contest.
Mr Woodhouse claimed they were sabotaged.
Mr Gurney claimed they were not aware the race required two
laps around the course and assured ''we will protest''.
They were prepared for the worst, with Mr Gurney wearing body
armour after hearing the tales of 2012 and Mr Woodhouse
wearing a life jacket as he was concerned they would end up
in the lake.
Mystery racer ''The Stig'' had an explosive finish in third
As a cloud of white smoke enveloped the unknown mower
enthusiast, a show official rushed over and doused The Stig's
mowing machine with the contents of a fire extinguisher.
The Stig emerged unharmed from the stunt but could not be
found a short time later, having quietly and quickly left the
Mower race organiser Joe Bagrie, who came second in the
ride-on section, said the popularity of the race meant it
would probably be part of next year's 100th show.
Also popular were the more traditional events, such as the
dog trials and equestrian competitions.
Lakes County A&P president Jared Hutton said it was a
''cracker'' day and stallholders were selling out by
Yesterday the skies truly turned wet and grey and Mr Hutton
described Saturday's weather as ''all of summer'' in one day.
''If it rains we lose money but if it's sunny we can pay for
half of the next year's show.''