From the district exhibits to animals to farming, the southern NSW region scored some major wins and accolades at the 2017 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Southern exhibit puts up fight
The district exhibits again showcased the finest produce from regions across NSW and parts of Southern Queensland in an artful display. Sydney Royal Judges scrutinised the produce that goes into creating them. Everything is judged individually – fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, oils and fibres – to determine the best in each region.
The southern district, however, will have to wait another year for overall victory, after losing by only 2.2 points to rivals southeast Queensland. They were followed by north, west and then central.
The last time the Southern District Exhibit won the overall event was back in 2002. Since then, the northern district dominated, securing 11 titles with central taking three wins.
I remember we lost by one tenth of a point – you wouldn’t think that was possible, would you?
Kenny Hewitt, manager of the southern district, said many positives were gained. “It wasn’t as bad as one other year. I remember we lost by one tenth of a point – you wouldn’t think that was possible, would you?”
Southern district, however, took top honours in the dairy produce and commercial fibres categories.
“This competition is the best we’ve done for a fair while now,” Mr Hewitt said. “We’ve also done very well in the grains this year with a few champions.”
Indeed, there were five key winners in the pulse, oats, wheat and maize categories. Other winning sections of included Andrew Havandjia at Jarradale Table Pumpkin winning the champion pumpkin award. Meanwhile, Neil Sheather at Kikuyu Grass from Gundagai won the champion grass and Ann Robson from Batlow was crowned Granny Smith apple champion.
As for display, southern came second behind central by 34 points. “The backdrop using grains took us about six to seven days to do, it was quite a meticulous job. A strong effort by all,” Mr Hewitt said.
Chasing the ‘Battered Beer’
An unofficial trophy of the district exhibits competition is the ‘Battered Beer Trophy’ awarded to the region that scores most points for wool at the Royal Easter Show.
The trophy consists of an old Toohey’s Flag Ale can sitting atop a wooden base. Inscribed on it is “...this Beer Can is a symbol of the true spirit of friendly rivalry existing between the Courts of the District Competition.”
It began in 1964 between central and western districts until 1978 from which the other districts were invited to participate. Dave Fletcher from the western district, whose uncles were involved in pioneering the quirky trophy, said it has been an annual trophy that is “highly sought after by all”.
In 2017, north was victor of the gong. Kenny Hewitt said it has been a long time since south has won. “It’s been a long time since drinks for us – I reckon it’d be about 20 years at least,” he said.
Long-time friendly rivalry on show
At the angora goat show, Debbie Scattergood from Bungendore and Helene Ypman from Bega have traded friendly blows for 38 years.
In 2017, it was Ms Scattergood who dominated, securing 29 first prizes of 39 class competitions, including the most successful angora goat exhibitor, best angora goat in show, grand champion junior angora goat, grand champion kid angora goat and junior champion angora buck.
For Ms Ypman, there were strong results to be proud of, including reserve junior champion angora doe, senior champion angora doe and grand champion senior angora goat.
I’ve had a very good day, you might say.
Ms Scattergood encapsulated her 2017 results, saying “I’ve had a very good day, you might say”. She also praised Ms Ypman for her efforts. “We’re long-term friendly rivals. We often come up against each other so we know each other’s games,” she said.
Ms Ypman agreed, saying success fluctuates between them. “I think Debbie’s done super this year. But we’ll come back next year and do it all over again,” she said.
Goulburn young farmers the best
In the young farmer challenge, the Goulburn team came first ahead of Berry, Singleton and Crookwell. The challenge, where each team has four members aged 18–35 years of age, is the ultimate test of young farmers’ skills and ability in a series of physical on-farm challenges.
These included electric fencing, chainsawing, throwing and skirting a fleece, reversing a tractor, unloading sheep panels and moving sheep from one yard to another and drenching a sheep.
Yass duo dominates field
The beef cattle competition was dominated by Sandra Johnson and Margaret Hunter OAM at Elizabethfields Murray Grey Stud, Yass. The pair’s cow – Elizabethfields Jeanette H10 – and calf took home a handful of awards in the Murray Grey category: Senior Champion Female, Grand Champion Female, The Manooka Perpetual Trophy for the Grand Champion Female and Best Exhibit awards.
The trifecta in the female champion awards is the sixth time they have achieved the accolade. “We have a very specific criteria, which includes being perfect structurally and having good feet and good testicular development in our bulls,” Ms Hunter said.