Keighley Leeson and Copper Leeson, 1, from Tumbulgum.
Keighley Leeson and Copper Leeson, 1, from Tumbulgum. Scott Powick

Show goes on boots and all

MURWILLUMBAH'S 110th annual show kicked off yesterday with some of the best crowds ever recorded for a first day, prompting high hopes of a bumper attendance today, even if it rains.

A wide range of show-goers, from retirement home veterans to young families with toddlers, yesterday made their way through the gates without charge – thanks to free entry sponsored by a range of businesses and Tweed Shire Council – on a day traditionally dominated by primary school groups.

“We've got wonderful crowds,” said an excited show secretary Liz Chauvier shortly after a mini-circus had performed its first display for groups of school children.

“Now all the kids are gathered around the mini-stunt bikes doing a show. There's a huge crowd there,” she said.

“A lot of the children on horses are there. All the horses' backsides are turned to the ring and the kids are watching the stunt bikes.”

During the morning, school students and horses took over the centre ring with equestrian competitions and school groups racing in the Murwillum–bah Show Relay, which featured teams running with sugar cane batons across the main oval.

Top performing schools were St Joseph's Primary, Mt St Patrick's School and Wollumbin High School.

Ms Chauvier said the show had attracted a “superb quality of horses” and “exceptional quality cattle”, while trade display places were booked out and record entires were recorded in some of the pavilion exhibits.

She is expecting big crowds today for the main day of the two-day show – despite the prospect of overcast weather.

“We're hoping for fine weather but we can cope with a lot out here,” she said.

“We're the Murwillum–bah Show society. We can cope with anything.”

Entries in the fruit and vegetable competitions in the main pavilion have become so strong – increasing year by year – that section judge, local banana grower Kevin Gilbert, said he would be looking for more room for the displays next year.

“We've got to find a larger area because of the number of entries,” Mr Gilbert said.

“The quantity is very good and the quality is very high.

“It's always high in the fruit and veggie section because a lot of home gardeners and farmers who like to have their own veggie patch take part.

“A lot of school kids are also getting into it.”

The popularity of the TV series MasterChef and Junior MasterChef could be behind a large number of entries in the cooking section this year, especially from school children, according to cooking steward Lisa McCrone.

“We've had a lot of school entries this year. Put it down to MasterChef,” she quipped.

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