12th May 2009
The local agricultural show was an integral part of my childhood. I remember watching from the school bus as each afternoon in the week preceding the show the grounds swelled with amazing rides and colourful caravans. Mum encouraged my sister and I to always participate and from an early age I made faces out of vegetables and diligently painted plaster of paris figurines for exhibition in the pavilion. On show weekend we would run to see if we had won a prize, then it was off to sideshow alley to spend pocket money that had been saved for months, before, broke and worn-out, we went in search of Mum and Dad for a dagwood dog as the fireworks began.
In keeping with tradition I was keen to visit the 2009 Warialda Show.
I was too late to enter the photography section of the show, so instead of artistic shots of dogs and husbands, I settled for entering some veges and home brewed beer.
On show day I headed, as per childhood, firstly to the pavilion where I found I had won second prize for two aged Jap pumpkins but I couldn’t find the beer anywhere. I tracked down the Chief Pavilion Steward who informed me there was only one beer entered. He didn’t know whose it was, but told me to go and find Ned who was the judge.
I found Ned in a pen of stock agents by the bar. Quite literally they were in a pen. There was a competition to guess the combined weight of six agents. As it was an agricultural show I suggested to the lady taking the entries that maybe they should also be guessing the scrotal measurements. She nearly fainted. Anyway, Ned (approx. 75kg and the runt of the pen) wasn’t any the wiser about my beer and I was beginning to suspect it was in the belly of a stock agent. I decided to take matters into my own hands, told the secretary I had won, pocketed the $10 prize-money and headed over to the main arena.
The mini-dog high jumps were about to start and having done prior research I came armed with the Incredible Climbing Clyde. Four of us lined up in front of a big crowd and had all cleared the initial obstacles when there was a late entry in the form of a blonde, pig-tailed 12 year old girl – with a whippet! The attrition rate knocked out all others until it was only Clyde and the whippet – but Clyde had won over the crowd. He was gamely attacking jumps five times his size and received many cheers as he got two front paws over the jump, then dragged himself up and launched himself into my arms. The whippet, with its long, skinny legs, duly won but Clyde and I were pumped. The Warialda Show had suddenly got a lot better. I tried to incite the Coolatai Mob into a celebratory romp around the kid’s jumping castle but for some reason their adrenaline levels were not quite as high as mine.
Clyde then retired to the ute for a snooze before the fireworks, and I retired to the bar where the penned agents were gaining weight by the second courtesy of free beer. Next to the bar was a truck filled with grain and two blokes who were shovelling the grain into a bin at quite a rapid rate. A whistle blew and this was my introduction to the Warialda Sorghum Shovelling Competition.
I still had an excess of adrenaline in my system when I found out they had a ladies division. One of my friends was standing with me. I said “how about it”, she said “let’s go” and suddenly there were two sheilas in the back of the truck shovelling the grain into a bin at a not so rapid rate. Then we found out they had a mixed division so Amy and I went to find some partners (both our better halves were at their respective homes on their respective couches and therefore not around when we needed them). We first tried the pen of agents which was a waste of time as the free beer had well and truly set in and they were looking a little worried about scrotal sizes. Then Amy found her Dad and someone found me an experienced shoveler and before you knew it we were in the back of the truck again.
At the end of the night, Amy and I shovelled 125kg in a minute to claim second prize of $50 each, and the experienced (and I must say highly competitive and very serious) shoveler and I shovelled 272kg in a minute to also claim second prize of $50 each. Considering I only had to shovel 30 seconds in each round I was making about $1.67 per second – pretty good money, hey?
$10 for a missing bottle of beer, fame and fortune in the dog-jumps and a hundred big ones for shovelling sorghum – the Warialda Show definitely had turned out all right. I am already planning for next year. I will get some photos in early, enter more than one bottle of beer and put Clyde and Amy into training. Bring it on.
P.S The six agents weighed 690kg – and that was definitely wet weight.