Last A&P show worries axemen
Woodchoppers are on the hunt for a new stomping ground after news the 2015 Putaruru A&P Show will be the last.
February 28 will be a bittersweet date for many in the South Waikato town who will celebrate the show’s 80th anniversary as its final hurrah.
The show’s closure will mark a ‘‘major change’’ in the history of Putaruru axemen.
Club president George Richards is unsure what is on the cards for the sport’s future in the town.
‘‘The future of wood-chopping in Putaruru is uncertain at the moment, only time will tell,’’ he said.
The sport dates back more than 100 years in the district with the club’s establishment in 1936. Boom years in the 1980s featured club events which brought in more than 80 woodchoppers.
‘‘As a young boy I remember the annual sports day in Putaruru with wood chopping and track cycling. The cyclists raced around the athletics track in the middle of Glenshea Park.’’ A long list of successful competitors have staked their claim as Putaruru axemen.
That included the late Dick Honey of Putaruru, who chopped for New Zealand in Sydney, and his son Laurie Honey who set national records for cutting in the jigger pole, an event where competitors climb a pole and cut the block from the top.
Laurie has a memorial trophy in his name after he was killed in the bush.
Once the sports days ceased, the woodchoppers became a permanent part of the show, with a few hiccups along the way.
‘‘They no longer wanted the axemen at their show. We moved our wood-chopping to the front lawn of the Putaruru Hotel.’’ A few years went by and the club was asked to return. However, this time the end is the real deal and it is time to find a new home.
The club is working with Pride in Putaruru on potentially setting up a new date and format.
It’s an end of an era but woodchoppers’ support made it all worth it, Richards said.
‘‘Our thanks over the years go out to our people who work behind the scenes doing lots of work, and also to our sponsors. Without the sponsors we couldn’t run our chopping show.’’
If you would like to know more or help the club phone George Richards on 882 1113.
END OF AN ERA: The Putaruru A&P show was a home for Putaruru Axemen for many years and now they will have to go it alone.