Show pony

Growing up in the city the only knowledge I had of “shows” was the Royal Easter Show in Sydney and still then, it was just a chance for us to go on some rides and get some show bags. I really had no idea of the importance of these shows for the country people behind them and what a big deal it is.

For many regional towns all across Australia since the 19th century, their local country show is a chance to have a break in work and celebrate their achievements. There’s a combination of serious and light entertainment a chance for people to socialise and show off the work of their farms. There’s animal competitions: cows, poultry, beef as well as events for horses, the pavilion where the produce and cookery and skills of locals are showcased as well as fun events for kids and adults to join in on. When we moved here we headed off to our local show, The Robertson Show, a little 2 day event and was delighted at how much fun it was for all of us. The kids enter various things through school: perhaps a drawing, or some sample handwriting, maybe a lego construction, craft or knitting, and I had a crack at a few various entries over the years.

It’s a big ticket item on the social calendar each year, filled with volunteers and locals and packed with fun.

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This year I managed to get a few entries in: the pickled cucumbers, a date loaf, some lemon butter, and Rob entered his pickled jalpenos (blew the top right off Mavis’ head no doubt) and a herbed vinegar. The girls entered drawings and writing…you have to get your entries in on the Thursday before the show (Fri/Sat), pay your entry fees (a whopping 60 cents for some categories) and eye off your competition as you wait in line with the goods getting them into the pavillion.

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Rob dropped our goods off and on Friday when I got back from Sydney we jumped in the car with Mags to go and see how we had done. There’s always an air of excitement on Friday: all the local schools are there for their school excursion and a chance to compete in the Spud Olympics (it’s potato and diary country round here) and you can see everyone quickly getting to the pavilion to check how their dahlia’s or eggs, or herbs or preserves did.

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We headed straight to the cake display to see how I went with the date loaf. A dud year for me…it was undercooked I could see and a little sunken. Tasty sure, but not up to show standard. That’s OK. Not my year.

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The straight over to the Preserves to see how we went. Rob lucked out on the jalapeños, and I was in a panic because my clear pickles were no where to be seen. That was, until, like a phoenix rising I looked up and saw them on the top shelf. With a CHAMPION RIBBON attached to them. Ahem, if you will, they got the best preserve exhibit in the show. Across all those jams, mustards, chutneys, pickles, vinegars. BEST PRESERVES EXHIBIT.

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Of course I almost burst into tears. SO exciting. As I explained to Rob, he’s had lots of sporting and academic achievements throughout his life, I pretty much never got a ribbon or prize or ANYTHING. And if I get my only champion ribbon in life from a jar of pickles, I’ll take it. Just try and get that ribbon off my shoulders in the next few weeks.

We then walked around the corner to see how the lemon butter faired. Um, BLUE!

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And as someone pointed out to me, it must be REALLY good because the clip top jar is frowned upon. Who knew? Where is all this etiquette written down?! Rob scored second place and a red ribbon for his vinegar. Great result! It was then time to check out the rest of the goods on display. The girls school veggie garden got second place for their display of 4 beans. Ha.

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And then out for a bucket of hot chips and a XXXX to celebrate and watch the horses in the ring.

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What you’d call a great result for the local show. $4 in prize money a ribbon, a mini trophy and of course all that SMUG talk I can mention to anyone who will listen (or not). I’ll be splashing this round for sometime.

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These little shows really are such a wonderful example of the hard work our farmers do and even if you are from the city, you can come and visit and enjoy these little slices of history that still exist. It’s so wonderful to have a chance to be a part of them.

You can check out a list of all the upcoming shows here. Why not book a weekend away to a small country town, rent a house and have some fun?

Have you ever visited a small country show?
Entered something and had a win?
Going to the big show in Sydney over Easter?

Comments

  1. Went to the Morriset show to other week… the show girls were so excited!

  2. Congrats Beth! Love a country show & from age 3 I was taken by my aunt to The Dapto Show each January! I know all about country shows & how they hold them in a certain order around the areas. I also love(d) the Royal when it was at Moore Park & took our kids & then grandkids. Still went to it at Olympic Park when I lived in Sydney. I love ring events & seeing the ag displays.

  3. I’ve only ever been to the Royal Melbourne Show. I loved it when I was a kid, mainly the animal nursery and the show bags.
    You could always tell the country kids from the city ones, just by their jeans. The country kids had Lee and the city kids Levi’s – why was that? One of life’s little mysteries.
    Seriously though, I want to move to your village. I have a vision of myself dressed in 1940s gear, cycling through the village on my way to the bakery. ?

  4. Rachel Mudge says

    We moved our family (3 kids) from Adelaide where we were all born and bred to a small country town 2 years ago to simplify our family life and give country policing a go (my husband is a police officer!) And I LOVE the country show! Last year my kids had some wins in decorated biscuits, collages and Lego, but I came away empty handed from the Anzac biscuit category! Our show is in 2 weeks and I’m scratching up on a few baked goods to enter (attempting a cream puff, yikes!)
    This year my son is old enough to enter the kids chocolate cake category which he was thrilled about, and I told him I have the perfect recipe for him (Anne!)

  5. Well done Beth! I’ve always wanted to enter something in the show but it always creeps up on me and I never get around to it. The kids usually enter something through their preschool (in the past) and now through their school. It is such a great experience for them to see their work on display.

    Our local show is coming up next month. As usual I hadn’t even given it a thought until I read your post. Best go and get myself some details and maybe make this the year I get around to it 😉

  6. Congrats Beth!
    Nothing like a show win to bring a smile to your face (or a running man to your kitchen!) xx

  7. Congrats Beth!! That’s a big deal!! I’m a country girl (now a city chick) so the local show always has a special place in my heart. My Mum entered our local show in NZ for the first time when I was a teenager – her scones & chocolate cake both won a beautiful blue ribbon, ruffling a few feathers amongst the regulars! Good on you – so lovely to see such great traditions still going strong. Xx

  8. Congrats Bev! Well done! xx

  9. I loved going to The Show when I was growing up, and it was just down the road from us. We were taken over by country cousins and went again and again and again! Then there was the Country Boyfriend who grew into one of my best friends – and the inevitable Easter trip to the members stand! Going out to Homebush isn’t quite the same.
    A few years back we headed out to the Narromine Show – where our friends seem to run the place!! That’s fun too!
    Congratulations on that fabulous Championship Ribbon!! Such fun, and well deserved!!

    • Sounds familiar Mary – used to love going too and have so many friends from the country growing up as we had borders at school – such wonderful memories x

  10. I love a country show and certainly miss the ones where I use to live. Congrats on the wins guys, you deserve it xx

  11. Champion Ribbon – BEST PRESERVES EXHIBIT & a blue ribbon lemon curd OMFG

    There would be a lot of old time very skilled cooks in your district, no mean feat.

    Congratulations

  12. How fabulous, congrats. As I grew up on a farm those small shows were a BIG deal for us.

  13. that’s great beth!
    that ribbon can go up on the wall hun!
    country shows are good for small communities!
    love m:)X

  14. Those little blue cards with your name & ‘first’ still bring a warm glow. At my local show a lady enters most categories (what dedication!) & it’s always amazing to see what she has created. I’ve been entering since a little thing – I’d take hours to decorate my flower saucer & these days I bake (obviously to win!!!) to keep the tradition alive. My mum and grandmas all lived in the country & the show was a feature & those trophies were hotly contested. My mum still serves afternoon tea on some of her prizes ( sweet china plates) from her champion scone days. And they are still prize winning scones!

  15. Our Milton Show is on in a few weeks and I made some pretty delicious piccalilli on the weekend. My first go after seeing your success last week. One question though, do you get back the jar of chutney etc. you put in…or is it tasted and taken home by the old dears to devour with their cold cuts? As I am not sure I want to give a whole jar away! They have strict rules and you need to enter a pretty big jar!

  16. Congrats Bev! I have had no luck with the lemon butter so would love to know your secret.

    I have entered quite a few shows and I have to say I feel quite a bit of stress in doing so (in the lead up) however, win or lose, it’s a great experience. I love chatting with the judges, listening to them judge (if you have the time to hang around) and picking their brains as to what makes a winning entry.

    I commented recently that I got a first in Fruit Cake and Chocolate Cake ( a tweaked Anne) at the Queanbeyan Show and I was beyond excited. My first fruit cake entry EVER (I’ve made a few and not entered them) and it got a 1st.

    Well done to you! Mrs D x

  17. The Robbo show was one of the biggest events of the year when I was growing up. I’m so proud of you for keeping up the tradition.
    Well done on your wins. Yes, you would’ve had tough competition. My mother got champion sponge, second for fruit cake and third for chocolate cake. She’s just a little bit proud too (fierce competition between her friends)

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