Brilliant day for Waverley Show

Seven-year-old Jasmin Kaa-Miller waits to lead her lamb, Cindy, at the Waverley A & P Show. Photo/ Laurel Stowell
Seven-year-old Jasmin Kaa-Miller waits to lead her lamb, Cindy, at the Waverley A & P Show. Photo/ Laurel Stowell

All roads led to Waverley's Dallison Park for the town's annual A & P Show on Tuesday.

It had all the usual attractions, and the fine weather was the talk of the day. Last year Waverley's show day was wet and windy. Yesterday's had the best show weather one person could remember in nine years.

There were lambs being judged, horses performing, sheep being penned, calves on show, cooking and flowers judged and men putting up fences - with carnival amusements on the side.

A committee of 10 run the show. It has a long tradition, and a solid future.

Secretary/treasurer Ruth Lupton has been in the job for 20 years, and will hand over to a relative next year.

"It's good to keep a country thing going. There are not many country shows left, and this is one of the surviving ones," she said.

There was no Whanganui A & P Show this year. Usually it happens on the Saturday before Waverley's show, but there were not enough people to organise it.

Waverley A & P Association president Clare Johnston thought of asking whether Waverley can take the usual Whanganui day - until she heard Whanganui has a new committee, with plans to keep it going.

The Waverley show had plenty of trade stalls, and Whanganui's farming businesses are said to have better sales there.

Children at Waverley Primary School have an optional day off, to attend it.

Mahon's Amusements is there each year with games, rides and food stalls. This year, when there was no Whanganui show, the travelling trucks and caravans set up on their own and held a carnival.

Farming is the grunt behind an agricultural show, and Tony Symes had nearly 100 new season lambs penned for judging. Some were "gift" lambs, to be sold for funds to put into the show.

The lambs get judged "on the hoof" at the show, and again "on the hook" after they are killed at Silver Fern Farms' Waitotara meatworks. The prizes are trophies, and $100 each for the best gift and most valuable lambs.

The competition makes for friendly rivalry among local farmers here, livestock rep Philip Evans said. Entrants come from as far away as Whanganui and Hawera. Some of this season's lambs weigh 30kg and fetch $180 each.

The contest is an old one. Back when it started the lambs were exported, and judged, frozen, in England. When Patea had a freezing works, the killed lambs were judged there.

Lots of children brought their live lambs and calves to the Waverley show for judging. Lynette Gulliver took entries and said they came from Whanganui across Taranaki to Rahotu and Auroa.

Kathryn Oliver judged the dog trials, for the Waverley-Waitotara Sheep Dog Trial Club. The organiser, Merle Woodill, said entries were slower coming in than last year.

Waverley's fencing competition has been organised by Stephen Hooper for the last 30 years. It's a tradition started by Alan Belton in 1986, at a Waitotara Valley Sports Day.

On Tuesday, 10 teams of two each built a 36m fence, sending dirt flying with their posthole borers. Many of the competitors are fencing contractors, who use the contest to hone their skills.

Competitive fence building has been a sport since 2013, when Tim and Vanessa Stafford started New Zealand Fencing Competitions. There are five regional competitions a year, with the second at Waverley.

It's a popular event, Mrs Stafford said, and that's mostly down to Mr Hooper.

"He is such a great guy and organises such a great competition. He mentors them."

The season ends with the national competition at the Mystery Creek Fieldays.

By far the largest group of animals at the show were the horses and ponies - 131 of them, competing in 125 classes. Organiser Brenda Simson has been in the job 16 years and said there was a flurry of last minute entries when the weather cleared.

When the home industries shed opened, after judging has finished, people could look at lots of roses, flower arrangements, cooking, sewing and displays made by schools.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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