High attendee, entry numbers at show

North Otago A&P Association president Mark Lawrence (left) congratulates South Canterbury...
North Otago A&P Association president Mark Lawrence (left) congratulates South Canterbury Southdown breeder Chris Medlicott after his ram won supreme champion sheep of the show on Saturday. The ram is held by Lave Masilla. The show attracted more than 200 sheep entries, including more than 70 South Suffolks. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
North Otago’s A&P show was once again a success, with family entertainment, a menagerie of animals and high-quality circus tricks.

Association president Mark Lawrence estimated between 6000 and 7000 people turned up at the showgrounds in Oamaru to peruse the attractions at the weekend.

While the number of attendees did not top last year’s 160th anniversary A&P show, the livestock made up for it in their droves.

"It was our biggest sheep entries this millennium, and probably for the last 40 years — we had over 210 entries," Mr Lawrence said.

"Everything was up, except for the horses."

One of the most popular attraction was Pedalmania, a collection of weird and wacky bicycles free for people to try out.

There was also a fair share of informative stalls, including one hosted by Waitaki MP Miles Anderson and another run b a group protesting the fluoridation of the local water supply who set up right beside the Waitaki District Council tent.

A small but engaged crowd gathered around the stage to watch circus performer MulletMan — known offstage as Nathan Bonner — juggle a blade, a wrench and a flaming torch atop an extra-tall unicycle.

Alice Perry, of Weston, carries Ella, 3, and Ollie Harvey, 1, while wrangling Ralph the goat, who...
Alice Perry, of Weston, carries Ella, 3, and Ollie Harvey, 1, while wrangling Ralph the goat, who was first equal winner of best pet goat. PHOTOS: WYATT RYDER
It was the finale to his show, which included whips, diabolo tricks and comedy.

Three locals were invited to hold the 2.1m tall unicycle, while another was issued the task of throwing the performer on to the vehicle.

Once he was up and riding, a fifth audience member tossed him the three tools to juggle, then blew air on to his mullet from behind with a small industrial blower.

It was a trick only five or six people in New Zealand would be able to pull off, Mr Bonner said.

As a full-time circus performer he trained every day to ensure he was physically capable, could keep the audience engaged and safely perform his tricks.

Ensuring spectators had enjoyed the show was far more important than the calibre of his stunts and was his prime focus.

"That’s the whole thing. All of this becomes irrelevant," he said, motioning to the unicycle.

If even one person laughed at a joke or was wowed by a trick, then he considered it a success.

 

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