Thursday, October 22, 2009

Counting Down - Showtime 9

Arrrhh…sheep shearing, wood chopping, dog trials, horse jumping…..all etched into my brain decades ago when, as a young cadet journalist at the South Waikato News (then [and maybe still] the southern arm of Hamilton’s Waikato Times), I trudged around the Tokoroa A&P Show interviewing sweaty shearers, huge woodchoppers, bull breeders and assorted other brawny agricultural types. Many years later, after a spell in the big smoke (Auckland), I found myself doing the same rounds as an agricultural journalist in the Wairarapa. Nothing much had changed. And now, even more decades on, I’m about to throw myself into the ring again (as it were), when I go along to the 2009 Royal New Zealand Show, which runs from November 11 to November 13 here in Christchurch.
The Royal New Zealand Show of course, completely eclipses any of the other provincial A&P Shows I’ve visited during my lifetime. For a start, they’re expecting over 120,000 people to visit Canterbury Agricultural Park this year – for a show that has been showcasing the best of the agricultural world for 147 years. In addition, over 6,500 animals – horses, beef & dairy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, poultry, pigs, goats, dogs and more – have been brushed, fluffed and groomed for their big day out in the show ring. Over 600 trade exhibitors are also taking the opportunity to present new ideas, products and services; and live music, the NZ Army Band, the eternally popular and much-loved Topp Twins will all be adding to the noise and fun. Me? I’ll be heading straight for the wood-choppers….a little trip down memory lane as it were. And I probably won’t get past the International Aromatic Wine Competition or the New Zealand Gourmet Oil Competition. There’s just something eternally chummy about everyone standing around sampling good stuff! Both photographs courtesy of NZ Cup and Show Week/Christchurch City Council

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