It was a frosty start for the Show Day public holiday, but the sun rose on beautiful spring day and that proved the perfect recipe for an agricultural show.
Royal Launceston Show Society took a gamble by reducing its three-day event to one that ran for 12 hours on Thursday, but it was a chance that paid off.
Organisers were thrilled with the crowds that streamed steadily through the Launceston Showground gates from when they opened at 9am until after the fireworks at 9pm.
Society president Jock Gibson said the “the response across the board has been positive”.
“The crowds so far have been fantastic. We had lots at lunch time; it’s been great,” Mr Gibson said late on Thursday afternoon.
“We hope to get another surge for the evening session,” he said.
And although final numbers would not be known until next week, Mr Gibson said he thought figures were higher than those in 2017.
“I expect the numbers to be up on last year from just looking at the crowd,” he said.
From the crowds and competitors, to the ride, side show and food vendors, there was a positive feeling at the Launceston Show on Thursday.
“We’ve had positive comments from all organisations, Everyone has been very happy,” Mr Gibson said.
Ben Midson, of Newnham, has been attending Royal Launceston Show “on and off for about 30 years” and gave the new one-day event his tick of approval.
Mr Midson used to attend Launceston Show with his father, and now brings his own children to experience the event.
“I used to always remember going there and watching the Commodores go round the track with my dad. My dad passed away about five or six years ago,” he said.
“I used to go there with him and get a sausage and then we’d go and stand by the track. I’ll always remember it; it was fabulous.”
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When the show was relocated to Inveresk Mr Midson kept coming, and prefers the format as it was on Thursday.
“They’ve got it all in a more confined area. It’s not as spread out, so it seems like there is a lot more happening,” he said.
“Every time we’ve come to shows before we’ve been walking and walking and there were big stages where there was just nothing.
“We’ve been to Adelaide Show, Melbourne Show and this feels like a show again. Even the animal exhibits – walking through and being able to interact with them was great.”
Mr Midson and his family enjoyed their day at Launceston Show and support it continuing.
“I reckon they should try to save it. It’s more compact and cheaper to get in,” he said.
There is potential to build on the show’s infrastructure and expand it in the future, Mr Midson believes.
“Maybe you could do a two-day event, but test the waters for a year or two and see what transpires.”
Matilda makes miniature show debut
Matilda Cameron has been showing miniature horses for almost half of her life, but Thursday’s Royal Launceston Show was her first time as a solo handler.
The eight-year-old from Patersonia was dressed for success as she strode out on to the miniature horse field – and she picked up several ribbons for her efforts.
Horses Sparkles, 12, and Pam, 5, were led through their paces by a self-assured Matilda, who was watched by her mother Suzi Cameron.
Ms Cameron breeds miniature horses and has shown them at agricultural events for several years.
“[Matilda] has been coming along to the shows with me and this is her first year where she has been showing them by herself,” she said.
“She is very confident,” Ms Cameron said.
The family recently moved to a 2.4 hectare property at Patersonia from White Hills.
Small stud’s woolly triumph
It may only be a small stud, but Tidemoore at Bishopsbourne has the goods when it comes to agricultural shows.
The Hampshire down stud picked up a handful of ribbons at Launceston Show on Thursday to add to its collection from North and North-West agricultural shows in recent years.
Owners Paul Franks and Wendy Hoyle have kept their Northern Midlands stud small and the animals are used to being handled, so perform well at shows.
“We only have eight breeding ewes,” Mr Franks said.
The Hampshire down ram competed in the under one-and-a-half years category and then went on to win the champion ribbon too.
Mr Franks was thrilled with the win, with the ram a result of an artificial insemination breeding program.
“He’s got a bit of New Zealand breeding in him,” he said.
Tidemoore contributed starting stock to Yolla District High School when its farm was created.
Sheep judge Steven French was impressed with both rams in the champion field, but awarded top spot to the Tidemoore animal.
“There are two very good exhibits in the interbreed,” Mr French said.
“The champion ram is a magnificent ram with very good wool, in show condition and good hindquarters,” he said.
However, he found one area where the Tidemoore ram could improve.
“If I’ve got a complaint, the only thing I would say is that he is a little heavy over the front shoulders, but he’s got a wonderful back line,” Mr French said.
The runner up ram received high praise from Mr French too, who said it was an animal to watch out for at future events.
“I keep liking this ram. He’s going to develop and fill out into quite an outstanding ram, but just on the day I don’t think that he could quite match up to the one I gave champion to,” he said.
“Stick with him, he’s a good ram. Well done,” Mr French said to the runner up handler.
Other sheep breeds poll dorset, dorper, southdown, romney and white suffolk were also judged in the sheep pavilion throughout Thursday’s event.
Cattle breeds Gelbvieh, Limousin, Simmental, Murray grey, red and black angus, shorthorn, speckle park, Jersey, Guernsey and Holstein were judged in the showground outside the pavilions.
Junior handling and miniature horse judging were also included.
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