Show brings out the best in ru­ral life

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMIE KRON­BORG jkro­n­borg@ne­me­dia.com.au

MYRTLEFORD and Dis­trict Agri­cul­tural and Pastoral So­ci­ety’s 70th an­niver­sary Show on Satur­day brimmed with the best of ru­ral life but it seemed there were two stand-outs.

Stan­ley poul­try breeder Ron Leary dom­i­nated the show poul­try and budgeri­gar shed with his ex­hibits – and top­ping them all was his Stan­ley-raised buff or­p­ing­ton rooster.

Not only did this en­trant test the ca­pac­ity of the show cage – the cham­pi­onship rib­bon dis­tin­guished him – but ex­hibits from Billy and Mag­gie Tay­lor, Mr Leary’s grand­chil­dren, showed that poul­try fan­cy­ing might yet have longevity.

The other was a dif­fer­ent crea­ture al­to­gether but sim­i­larly im­pres­sive.

This was the Evans fam­ily’s Illawarra cow, Fanta, from Greta West, who pa­tiently chewed hay and cud in the so­ci­ety’s cat­tle shed while Justin Evans and his young daugh­ter Fair­lie at­tended to the com­pe­ti­tion in the yard out­side.

The Illawarra is the only Aus­tralian-raised breed of dairy cat­tle – the out­come of cross­breed­ing longhorn Durham, short­horn Durham, red Lin­coln and Ayr­shire cat­tle in the early 19th cen­tury in the farm­ing coun­try above Wol­lon­gong and later in­tro­duc­tions of Guernsey, Jer­sey and Friesian.

Fanta waited pa­tiently, a fine de­scen­dant of decades of se­lec­tive hus­bandry, and aptly named – her red-brown coat a dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of her breed and her ud­der tes­ta­ment to her mother­ing and milk-pro­duc­ing ca­pac­ity.

The shared gen­er­a­tional ef­fort that brought both rooster and cow to the show was em­blem­atic of that which cre­ates and sus­tains it – an event run en­tirely by vol­un­teers.

So­ci­ety sec­re­tary Lis Mee­han said gate-tak­ings this year were al­most double last year’s sum.

She said the fi­nal num­bers were still to be tal­lied but there was no doubt that this year’s show crowd was one of the big­gest “for many years”.

Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi), wear­ing a trade­mark or­ange jacket and R. M. Williams-brand boots, opened the an­niver­sary event.

The wood-chop fol­lowed, with entrants tack­ling lathe-uni­form trunks of rock-hard moun­tain ash with lightning-sharp ax­e­man­ship but in which un­seen knots proved a chal­lenge for some com­peti­tors.

Wan­garatta Pipe Band en­ter­tained the crowd, Buf­falo River and Myrtleford Landcare ad­vo­cate Glenda Janas won the show cake com­pe­ti­tion and the Whorouly Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion’s branch dis­play of felted arts was a draw­card in the hand­i­crafts sec­tion.

PHOTOS: Jamie Kron­borg

HAPPY: Beech­worth’s Billy Tay­lor was proud of his prize in the poul­try shed – a chook bred by his grand­fa­ther, Ron Leary, from Stan­ley. Billy’s sis­ter Mag­gie also won a rib­bon.

CROW­ING: Stan­ley bird fancier Ron Leary ex­hib­ited this buff or­p­ing­ton – Myrtleford show’s cham­pion poul­try ex­hibit.

SOUND: Stan­ley’s Mel Tomp­kins and Wan­garatta’s Terry Shaw en­ter­tained the Myrtleford crowd from the show­ground sound-shell. Mel plays man­dolin and Terry plays acous­tic guitar and both per­form vo­cals.

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