Our young guns of the show set cracking pace
WHAT do an entertainer, cow wrangler, horse rider and baker have in common? They’re among the young stars at this year’s Royal Adelaide Show.
Show organisers say they have received 3275 entries across their junior competitions this year, accounting for more than 10% of total entries.
For talented baker Sarah McKenna, 6, the show is an exciting opportunity to test her skills in the kitchen against her two brothers, Ben, 9, and Noah, 10.
This year, Sarah won first place in the ‘fruit and veg design’ class with a pig she made out of vegetables.
She also won her junior primary age group for her rock buns and frittata, with a second place for muffins.
Sarah, who has participated for the second year in a row, said she came back because “it is so fun”.
Her mother, Jo McKenna, said she encouraged her children to enter show competitions because “cooking is such a vital part of life”.
“It helps them later on in life – whatever they do in life, cooking is always going to be there,” she said.
For horse rider Jett Donoghue, also 6, competing at the Royal Adelaide Show was a matter of tradition.
“Our family has got a deep history in it,” Jett’s mother Leanne said.
“I compete and we live on a farm (in the Adelaide Hills) – it is just our way of life.”
You don’t have to search far to find more animal-loving children at the show.
Eleven-year-old Kelsey Mathew, who is showing dairy cattle at this year’s event with friend Charlie Nash, said while this was officially her second year competing, she has “been coming on and off my whole life”.
“It is not every day you get to lead a cow around at the show,” she said, adding that she enjoyed entering the junior handler competition.
“(I get) very nervous. But I just put on a brave face and then just try lead it (the cow) around and look happy.”
Another young gun of the show not to be forgotten is the charismatic Mater Vandeleur.
But the nine-year-old isn’t competing at the show – instead, you’ll find him presenting in his family’s popular pig racing and diving show.
Pig Racing Australia, which is run by three generations, got its start at the Royal Adelaide Show in 1993.
More recently, young Mater, who will also showcase his presenting and interviewing skills on Seven’s new show Little Big Shots, has been bringing his signature flair to the performance.
“It is going to be better than what it was last year,” he said of their 2017 offering.
“I’ll also be going out and interviewing people, so I will be getting the crowd geed up.”
Royal Adelaide Show general manager Michelle Hocking said student involvement in the event’s competitions was “an essential element to the future success of the show”.
“We often refer to the Royal Show as South Australia’s biggest classroom,” she said.
“The next generation brings ideas, innovation and an opportunity to share ideas with the broader public that attends.”
The next generation brings ideas, innovation and an opportunity to share ideas with the broader public that attends.
— Royal Adelaide Show general manager Michelle Hocking
SARAH MCKENNA, 6
■ How many times have you entered junior cookery? This is my second year entering.
■ What have you entered this year? I’ve entered a pig into the fruit and veg design class and then scones, gingerbread men, decorated biscuits, rock buns, frittata and muffins.
■ How long did it take to prepare all your entries? Three days.
■ Why do you keep entering junior cookery? Because it is so fun.
■ What has been one of your favourite moments? I beat Ben in the muffins category last year.
■ How do you make a good muffin? You’ve got to cook it. And don’t over-mix it.
■ What is your favourite thing about the show? The rides and the toys, and it has animals.
DAIRY CATTLE JUNIOR HANDLER
KELSEY MATHEW, 11
■ How long have you been showing dairy cattle? This is my second year but I have been coming on and off my whole life.
■ Have you been successful in the past two years? Ata different show I got a third place. When I came here we got a ribbon for participating in novice classes.
■ What do you like most about showing dairy cattle at the show? Leading them in the grand parade, the judging and just coming to the Adelaide Show.
■ What is one question everybody asks you when they find out you show dairy cattle? Where do you sleep? Down in the brick shed, there are some stairs that go up above where some cows are and there are little rockers up there.
■ Do you ever get a good night’s sleep? Sometimes. It depends how tired you are.
■ What else do you love about the show? The showbags.
■ What are your tips for being a good handler? You have to get a good bond with your cow before you put it on the halter and lead it around. You need to be careful because sometimes they can be a bit silly.
■ How do you develop a good bond with your cow? You give it lots of food, because they like food. You groom them, pat them, wash them, hang around them a lot and just lead them around. A cow I got for last year, I can sit down next to her and lay on her, like put my back on her belly.
■ Why would you encourage other kids to get involved? It is not every day you get to lead a cow around at the show.
■ Do you get nervous? Yes, very nervous. But I just put on a brave face and then just try lead it (the cow) around and look happy.
PIG RACING AUSTRALIA PRESENTER
MATER VANDELEUR, 9
■ What is your favourite thing about working at the show? I get to meet new people.
■ What can we expect of your show this year? It is going to be better than what it was last year. I’ll also be going out and interviewing people, so I will be getting the crowd geed up.
■ What does it take to be a good interviewer and presenter? You have to have the questions and the answer behind them... and
With the camera, if you wear something dark it won’t show up. You have to wear vibrant stuff.
■ What is it like working
with pigs? It is very fun, but the key thing you have to do is not push them. They do it on their own behalf.
■ Do you get nervous? I used to but now I don’t as much. We have music to start it off and I just flow with the music.
JETT DONOGHUE, 6
■ What do you love about participating at the show? Riding in the big arena.
■ What is your favourite section/class to enter? The horses as I get to ride my pony.
■ What is your favourite show memory? Watching Mum ride as a baby.
■ What else do you like about the show? The showbags.
■ Why would you suggest other kids get involved in the show’s competitive sections? It’s fun.
■ Do you have any riding idols? Jeff Evans the show jumper.
■ What is the hardest job that comes with owning horses? Cleaning the stables.
NEXT GEN: Young guns of the show (from left) Kelsey Mathew, 11, Mater Vandeleur, 9, Sarah McKenna, 6, and Jett Donoghue, 6.