Three generations all judging

Terrier race winner Stella streaks to the lead moments after the race started. Photo: Stephen...
Terrier race winner Stella streaks to the lead moments after the race started. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
There was something a bit special going on in the equestrian judging at the Wanaka A&P Show.

The Beat Girls (from left) Andrea Sanders, Kali Gazley and Narelle Ahrens stomp on grapes as part...
The Beat Girls (from left) Andrea Sanders, Kali Gazley and Narelle Ahrens stomp on grapes as part of an Otago Daily Times promotion at the show. John Leyser, of Cromwell, was closest to guessing the amount of liquid produced from a half barrel-full of grapes, with an estimate of 23.5 litres. The actual amount was 23.7 litres.
Three generations of one family were officiating in the ring, led by family matriarch, the remarkable Catherine Bell (81), of Southland.

Mrs Bell has had a lifetime involvement with horses and ponies and that interest has been passed on to her daughter Dawn Kennedy, who is in her 60s, and grand-daughter Georgina Bell (22). All three were at Wanaka, kept busy with various judging duties.

Catherine Bell has officiated at shows throughout New Zealand and Australia. It was about 1955 that her pony first competed at the Wanaka Show, brought along by her mother as she was at boarding school and a borrowed rider was found.

When the family used to compete at Wanaka, they would bring a truckload of nine ponies to the show.

That was "just part of everyday life" for Mrs Bell, who lives near Invercargill.

She was judging the park hack and riding pony classes at Wanaka, while Mrs Kennedy was doing the lead rein and round-the ring judging, and Georgina (22) was judging riding horses and first ridden. Georgina's sister Sarah Bell was also riding at the show.

Mrs Kennedy said she grew up among ponies - "that was our life" - and there was always some equine event to go to.

She agreed her very sprightly mother was an inspiration, saying if she wasn't, they probably would not be doing what they were doing.

Mrs Bell had helped hundreds of children over the years and was the Royal Agricultural Society's judging convener for southern districts for 15 years, running workshops for people who wanted to be judges.

Georgina had given up riding momentarily while she got her judging accreditation done but she recently bought a young horse which she was looking forward to campaigning.

All three women were immaculately turned out for their judging duties, something they believed was important given the effort the competitors put in to their own turnout.

Three generations of one family (from left) Catherine Bell, Dawn Kennedy and Georgina Bell,...
Three generations of one family (from left) Catherine Bell, Dawn Kennedy and Georgina Bell, pictured with Apache Pony, were all judging at the Wanaka A&P Show. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
This year's show attracted at least 40,000 people and while official numbers were still to be confirmed, the crowd was consistent with previous years, show organisers said.

Wanaka A&P Show event manager Jane Stalker says a combination of factors attracted the huge crowd to the event.

"The Wanaka A&P Show is now the largest two-day show in the South Island and many people make it a fixture on their events calendar, whether they come for the agriculture or the entertainment.

"We're very lucky as the show is always held the second weekend of March when the weather is generally great, people are ready to relax, farmers are less busy than at other times of the year and the timely rain meant they actually spent a bit more money, too," she said.

A highlight of the show is always the terrier race and this year's event attracted record entries of 68.

Race convener Richard Burdon said having a Jack Russell was part of rural life - they were great companions and great rabbiters - as he quipped there was a chance to pick one up in the melee of the aftermath of the race. This year's race was won by local terrier Stella (9), who has been in the race eight times and has had a podium finish six times.

Owned by Kristin Renda and family, Stella was very fit and got very excited when told it was race day, Ms Renda said.

 

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