Draught horses and house cows no longer warrant a section
dedicated to them at the Mt Benger A & P Show but other
elements of the first show are still going strong, 70 years
The attendance at Saturday's show, held at the Roxburgh
Sportsgrounds, was ''brilliant'' and the public rated it the
best for many years, show president Judith Speden said.
''They were really impressed - it was the best show
entries-wise, with entries up in every category, and
weather-wise, with a sunny day, and they were happy with all
the entertainment. People were still coming through the gate
all afternoon and they didn't want to leave, '' Miss Speden
Although attendance figures and gate-takings were not yet
finalised, it was definitely a bigger crowd than usual and a
fitting way to mark the 70th show. Miss Speden paid tribute
to the long service given by volunteers over the years and
said some descendants of the first committee members were
still involved. She made special mention of the contribution
made by committee members and long-time exhibitors Dick Hill
and Gwen and Harold Gloag, who had all died within the past
six months. Bill Bain officially opened the show, on behalf
of the organisation's life members, and said his family had
been ''deeply involved'' in the event over the years. His
father was the first secretary. He had attended 67 of the 70
shows, the first as a baby.
The early years had been dominated by horse entries, but
sheep and cattle were also represented, along with a special
class for draught horses and house cows.
''The horse section has remained strong over the years and
the same surnames are listed as regular competitors over the
years. There has also been great rivalry among the exhibitors
in the fruit and vegetable sections.''
Mr Bain said the majority of the shows had scored fine
weather, but at least two were ''cancelled by lunchtime''
because of rain.
''In 1997 the show was cancelled and our mother was to
officially open that show, but she didn't get the
opportunity, so I guess I'm representing her as well today.''
Eight life members were presented with certificates on
Saturday, marking their contribution to the organisation.
That number included the show's trade space marshal, Ralph
Nichol, who was surprised to be called to the ceremony and
have life membership conferred. Miss Speden said the show
entertainment appealed to a wide cross-section of the
community. The West Otago Vintage Machinery Club's display of
''dancing tractors'' was a real hit. Other activities which
proved popular included the rock climbing, agri-sports,
bark-up and the big dig.