Over 1000 people came through the gates for the Tumut Show on Saturday, with 682 adults, 202 pensioners, 110 children and the many hardworking show volunteers participating in the great activities on offer.
A bit of rain on Saturday morning didn’t scare anybody away, with Tumut Show Society Treasurer Jackie Green explaining that it simply encouraged more people to check out the indoor pavilion.
“I think it went very well. The rain didn’t help of course, but then again last year it was really hot, and you can’t predict the weather! While it was raining people just waited inside,” she said.
There was plenty for people to look out, with displays from local schools, aged care homes, and other local groups; live entertainment including Rory Phillips, the Evolution Dance Centre, and the Batlow Balloon Benders; and the Junior Showgirl and Best Beau.
Ms Green said Tumut went all out in their entries this year.
“There were more Juniors entries than there have been before,” she said.
“The photography section is absolutely so popular, and there’s so much talent. I was really surprised with the vegetables, it’s been so hot you’d think the numbers would have been down, but it was amazing!
“Handicrafts was down slightly, but there was at least twice as much art as their was last year.”
However, Ms Green said that the real heroes of the show were the ones working behind the scenes, with hours of unpaid labour going into the day and the weeks beforehand to make sure everything came together smoothly.
“The other highlight, which people don’t see, is the number of people who are volunteers who are involved in putting on the show,” she said.
“Nobody gets paid, and when you look at how many there are behind the scenes – even just setting up the pavilion is a major, major task, and then you’ve got the stewards, you’ve got the judges, and of course the committee.”
Show Society Secretary Sue Bulger said there were many people involved in the show that are vital to its success.
“It’s a social event, and it has a lot to do with families who are involved in different elements of the show such as the Ladies Auxiliary, the Trust, and the Stockman’s Challenge,” she said.
“Then of course there’s the stewards who set up and run each of the different categories, and we’re so grateful to them. If it wasn’t for their hard work the event simply wouldn’t run.
“There are so many different families involved and it’s great to see the children entering into different parts of the pavilion entries.”
There were less rides this year as the local show clashed with the larger Goulburn Show, and Ms Green expressed that while they wished there was something they could do about that, where the vendors decide to go is out of their control.
“Because Goulburn Show has changed its date to the same date as ours we were down on the amusements,” she explained.
“We have no control over what amusement people come, you just have to wait and they either come or they don’t come, and because Goulburn Show was a big show they went to that because there’s obviously more money. So that was disappointing, but it’s just how it is.
“But the show always feels good – it’s a community thing, it’s inclusive, it’s fun, and it all comes together on the day.”
Fiona surprises cattle paraders
It was 24 years ago that Fiona Sanderson founded the Show School Paraders with Tony and Fran Butler at the annual area shows.
She’s since moved to Queensland, but this year as a special surprise for Tumut High School agriculture teacher Tony Butler, she returned to judge the 2017 event.
“He had no idea I was coming down this morning!” she laughed.
“To Tony and Fran I really do take my hat off, they’ve done an amazing job. You run into a few people in your life like they are; I think they’re one of the extraordinary ones. “It’s been an absolute honour to be involved in it.”
Ms Sanderson’s mother founded the Murray Grey breed of cattle, and she has continued the family tradition – she began her first stud breed at the tender age of nine.
She was living on a property at Muttama when the parading first got started, and both of her children went to Gundagai Primary and Gundagai High Schools.
She’s since relocated up north, but she was in the area visiting her daughter, an agribusiness manager in Griffith, when the idea to surprise Tony Butler at the Tumut Show came up.
It’s an integral part of the show now, but a quarter of a century ago when the parading first started, Ms Sanderson said had no idea the effect it would have on the participating students.
“We were showing cattle at the time, and we sent steers to the schools with some of the children coming to us and learning about the cattle. Tony, Fran and I went back and forwards for a while with ideas, and we came up with this amazing idea,” she explained.
“Because the students’ confidence grew going out in the ring with the animals, so too their confidence in their lessons grew.
“They met some interesting people along the way, and had to be quite grown up in areas where they were showing cattle with exhibitors. It was amazing; within twelve months we say the students marks starting to improve in maths and English and all sorts of things.
“Some of them weren’t really academic, but with the animals it gave them a hands-on thing, it was something tangible they had to work on.”
The School Show Paraders section of the annual event involves two sections, junior and senior. Juniors are judged on their skill with parading their animals, and seniors are also judged on their knowledge of beef cattle.
This year the participating schools were Tumut High School and Gundagai High School.
It’s not the end of showing for the year for Ms Sanderson however – next up she’ll be participating in the Cattle Experience at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, teaching our city cousins, as she calls them, about the beef cattle industry, with five sessions a day for fourteen days.
The Sydney show will doubtlessly be a grander affair than Tumut, but Ms Sanderson said there’ll always be a special place in her heart for the local show.
“Home’s always home,” she said.
“Tumut’s always been a lovely little show, we used to show our stud cattle up here and it’s always a pleasure to come.”