Show braces for jump in entries

Last updated 11:07 04/12/2013
Royal show sheep Lyn Watson
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

ON DISPLAY: Lyn Watson, secretary of the Manawatu Branch of the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders which is having a stand at the Royal Show.

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Preparations are under way for this weekend's Manawatu Royal Show at Manfeild Park in Feilding.

Stock entries are "overwhelming", says the chairman of the consortium running it, Murray Meads. He said while stock numbers were well up, there were few alpacas as they had just been shorn and were not entered as a result of that.

The last time Manawatu hosted a New Zealand royal show was 2002.

"It's a royal show so breeders compete for the tri-colour ribbons (red, white and blue - only available at a royal show). And we're geographically well placed to attract large animal entries."

Some are coming up from the, South Island," Meads said.

Manawatu A&P Association chairman Lawrence Satherley said everything was organised. "It's sweet and on track" for an exciting show.

He said that about four times the stock numbers entered for Manawatu and Feilding A&P show were coming.

"It's one of the biggest Royal Shows ever. There are 500 sheep, 400 beef and dairy cattle, and 1000 horses entered."

Satherley said it was a combination of paid staff and volunteers that put the show together - with more paid people than would usually be used for a show that did not have Royal status. He said 10 marquees were already up at the site.

The consortium that has put the Royal show together is made up of the Manawatu West Coast A&P Association, the Feilding IA&P Association, Manfeild Park Trust and Performance Beef Breeders.

Meanwhile, an invitation to all Manawatu schools to visit the show on Friday has had a great response, with 1500 children registered to attend.

Chief steward of Farmlands Farmworld and schools programme co-ordinator Anna James said she was thrilled with the response and support the region's schools had shown.

Pupils from town and country schools will attend the show which runs from December 6-8.

James said the 1500 included pre-schoolers through to 12-year-olds and some were coming from as far away as Taihape and Dannevirke.

And Feilding schools and pre-schools will also get a taste of rural life.

She said the Farmworld zone offered schools a chance for their children to see farm animals ranging from cattle and chicks to goats and donkeys.

The programme provided the opportunity to interact with different sections of the show as well as exposing children to different aspects of rural life, James said.

"Farms have had to get bigger to survive, which has meant less time off the farm. The show provides an opportunity for farmers to connect with children and show off their animals to them," she said.

James said all schools would get a guided tour and activity books.

Margot Mackie, deputy principal of Manchester Street School in Feilding, believed it was a fantastic opportunity and said the school hoped to take all 200 children from its junior classes.

"The hands-on experience is the value for us. That up-front touching of live animals, especially farm animals, is fabulous," Mackie said.

The consortium has the show this weekend, and again in 2014. It is hoping for two years of the royal show - in 2015 and 2016.

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The show includes woodchopping, shearing, a speed shear, farriers and terrier racing. Entertainers include the Topp Twins, Titanium and the Warratahs.

It will culminate in a fireworks display.

- Manawatu Standard

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