Big Al mows down opposition ... again

Hundreds gather in the sun at Lake Hayes

SUE FEA IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 13/01/2014

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The animals were well-behaved, as were this year's Lawn Mower Race competitors at the 99th Lake Hayes A & P Show on Saturday.

Hundreds turned out to enjoy the best weather Wakatipu has seen for several weeks.

Reigning champion and Alexandra mower king Alan McCrostie ("Big Al") took the honours in the fiercely-contested Lawn Mower Race for the third year running.

Before the event judges and comperes assured there would be "no fisticuffs" as in the 2011 race, notorious for its side-on shunt and punch-up between rivals.

Competitors played fair and a crowd of several hundred gathered around the show ring for one of the highlights of the year.

There was some fast action from both the main Lawn Mower Race and Running Lawn Mower Race competitors.

Endurance star Steve Gurney and teammate, Queenstown vet, Geoff Woodhouse, were hot on the tail of McCrostie's specialist racing mower.

However, their "eco-friendly" tandem bike towing an old motor mower, could not match the Mower King. They also missed a placed in the Running Mower section.

Mr Gurney, wearing protective gear, joked after the race they would be lodging a protest.

"We were sabotaged," he said.

Mr McCrostie, who said his mower was "especially for racing and not the lawns at home", also cleaned up the show's controversial 2011 Lawn Mower Race, which made national headlines.

"I was placed first that year, too, but I played by nice rules," he said.

Man bakers were out in force for the hotly contended Blokes Only Section, with Michael Clark's spiced apple cake and Jeff Williams' tongue-in-cheek "Nigella cake" sharing first equal.

Young Jamie Coyle's MasterChef skills shone through in the Children's Baking Section winning with a beautiful entry for her favourite pop star, Taylor Swift.

Kay Greenslade's delightful gardening-cum-baking, home-maker apron style caught the judge's eye taking out the Fashion in the Field section this year, while the Greer family took home the newly donated Uncle Bertie's "Best in Show" Trophy for their peacock created from willow branches.

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- The Southland Times

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