Show Day returns without a crowd

Andrew Sidey, of Hawarden, and his son Harry (11) enjoyed success in the sheep competition,...
Andrew Sidey, of Hawarden, and his son Harry (11) enjoyed success in the sheep competition, placing second to the premier Corriedale ram hogget in a class of 15, at Canterbury Agricultural Park on Friday.
New Zealander Sheep Breeders Association president Tom Burrows (left), of Horrelville, and James...
New Zealander Sheep Breeders Association president Tom Burrows (left), of Horrelville, and James Hoban, of Waikari, chat during judging in the Corriedale classes.
West Melton couple Lindsay and Sheryl Riddle claimed supreme champion suri alpaca with Sherlin...
West Melton couple Lindsay and Sheryl Riddle claimed supreme champion suri alpaca with Sherlin Albion.
Sheryl Johnson, of Kaiapoi, leads Silverstream Upstart in the ring during judging of the white...
Sheryl Johnson, of Kaiapoi, leads Silverstream Upstart in the ring during judging of the white huacaya alpaca junior male class.
Martin Bennett, of Loburn, waits to enter the ring with Oak Ridge Crossfire in the brown huacaya...
Martin Bennett, of Loburn, waits to enter the ring with Oak Ridge Crossfire in the brown huacaya alpaca junior male class. PHOTOS: DAVID HILL
Troy Pyper, of Waikari, competes during the New Zealand Corriedale Shearing Championship.
Troy Pyper, of Waikari, competes during the New Zealand Corriedale Shearing Championship.

Livestock competitions returned to Canterbury Agricultural Park last week, but without the usual fanfare.

New Zealand Agricultural Show general manager Tracy Ahern said organisers had hoped for a Show Day crowd of more than 60,000 people, but had to settle for 350 after the event was cancelled.

In its place was a week of livestock competitions behind closed doors and a City Farmyard put on for local schools last Thursday.

This year’s show was meant to celebrate the New Zealand Sheep Breeders’ Association’s 125th anniversary, but president Tom Burrows said the association opted to postpone until next year.

Organisers said there were more than 300 sheep entered in the Show Day competition, about half the usual number.

Corriedale sheep breeders were well represented, with several North Canterbury farmers among them.

Hawarden farmer Andrew Sidey enjoyed a good day, placing second to the premier Corriedale ram hogget, in a class of 15.

Mr Sidey is hoping for a better season, after last summer’s drought was followed by a wet winter and early spring.

"Our winter crops failed and we had a cold, wet winter and early spring, so it was tough going," he said.

"But the pasture has bounced back quickly and it’s looking quite good, so we will get a bit of hay for next year."

Mr Sidey runs 3000 ewes, including 250 Corriedale stud ewes, on his farm at Mason’s Flat, near Hawarden.

The sheep were joined by alpacas, pigs and shearing and woolhandling for Show Day competitions, including the New Zealand Corriedale Shearing Championship.

Boer and dairy goat and sheep dog trial events were also held during Show Week.

Canterbury A&P Association president Chris Harris could be set to have the longest stint in the show’s top job.

Mr Harris, who was meant to be last year’s show president, said he might try for third time lucky next year.

"I’m starting to think I might be the jinx, actually, but I won’t try to take all the blame. Covid certainly hasn’t helped," he said.

"There’s talk of it. I think I probably might deserve a real show, I hope so.

"It’s not the right way to be the longest-serving president, but we’ll see."

The former New Zealand show jumping representative was unable to compete for the first time, with no equestrian event held this year.

Mr Harris said the association would need to draw down on a loan from Christchurch City Council to cover its losses from this year.

"We will be relying on a very good show for the next couple of years to get back in the black."

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