A&P shows stripped down to ‘bare bones’

A&P Shows which were able to go ahead under Covid-19 restrictions have been stripped back to "the bare bones".

West Otago A&P Society president Julian Kelly said though the Tapanui show this year was for entrants only and no spectators were allowed, he was pleased with the turnout and support.

"We were keen for a show as normal when there was no Covid in the South Island but when Christchurch cases came up we had a meeting and decided the risks were too great. But we’ve been lucky with strong sponsorship and local businesses. Without their support we’d be running at a loss. This year we may scratch even," Mr Kelly said.

The showgrounds at Tapanui Racecourse were busy with the South Island dog trials finals, equine eventing and contractors in competitive fencing.

South Island sheepdog trial competitions have thrived despite the pandemic. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
South Island sheepdog trial competitions have thrived despite the pandemic. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

No public crowds meant no profit from gate sales, but it also caused the disappearance of the stock shows which were at the heart of the A&P tradition, and Tapanui hosted no cattle, sheep or other animal breeding competitions.

"No spectators means no trade shows or carnival, but it also means the farming public aren’t going to be along to be shown the local stud and breeding developments. A&P is big advertising for the stock industry," Mr Kelly said.

However, Judge Isaac Johnston said that the turnout of seven contractors to compete against each other in technical fence building was "good to see under the circumstances," and dozens of horse floats had arrived for the showjumping sports.

Dog Trials convener Jan Tairua said dog trials events in the South Island had a full schedule despite the lockdowns and restrictions.

"We’ve been following all the protocols and we’ve actually been very lucky. Competitors numbers aren’t normally this high," she said.

 - Nick Brook

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