The Gore A&P Show was held on Saturday February 4th, just a couple of days after we had returned home from our trip to The Catlins. The A&P stands for Agriculture and Pastoral. In scale, it’s similar to a county fair but a little smaller than what I grew up with at the Hardin County Fair when it comes to amount of total livestock, project displays, and carnival rides. Most of the show was focused around Dairy, Equestrian, and fun family activities. One key difference was that people of all ages were showing livestock, not just younger ones.
Michael and I brought one of the younger boys, Casey, from our congregation along for the day so he could be our tour guide at the show. He is a farm boy to the core and loves animals! It was such a treat to spend the day with him.
We watched some of the dairy judging and saw the Supreme Grand Champion Friesian Dairy Cow earn her ribbon. We also caught the “Large Breed” and Small Breed” heifer judging. The large breeds (i.e Black Angus) were much smaller than their US cousins. The small breed heifers included white galloways, belted galloways, riggit galloways, and what I think were highland breeds. Many of these breeds originate from Scotland, as do many people who live in Southland, NZ!
Michael and I were impressed by something we saw in one of the smaller barns. It was the largest sheep we had ever seen! He was massive! The top of his back was even with Michael’s belt when they stood side by side, and it’s head was huge! We saw some Angora rabbits, piggies, miniature horses, baby lambs, baby cows, chickens, fancy pigeons, ducks, and even some kitties being displayed for adoption by the local SPCA.
As with every fair or festival, there are plenty of places to get overpriced, unhealthy food along with rides and games to waste your good money on. While we decided to take a lunch break, Casey’s family joined us for the afternoon at the show. This is the same family that Michael works for milking cows and they have become very dear friends to us!
An A&P Show in Southland wouldn’t be complete without a performance by a Celtic Pipe and Drum Band. And just the other day, Michael and I drove past a Pipe and Drum competition between the local schools. Southlanders take their heritage very seriously!
A large part of the day was centered around Equestrian classes and judging. Most classes were English-styled riding. I think “western style” is kept more to the ranch work and trail rides, because I did not see one piece of western tack during the entire show! There was everything from Working Hunter, Show jumping, Pinto Horse judging, Hunter Jumping events, In-Hand Horse Classes (similar to Showmanship I think), and a Six Bar Jumping Competition.
There was even a driving class for little ponies pulling carts with women wearing fancy hats!
During the middle of the day there was a demonstration by the Eastern Southland Hunt Club and their hounds in the main ring. It was led by three riders in the traditional red jackets and a group of riders tagged along behind them to run around the ring with the hounds. It was a cool event to witness and we were so impressed by the tiniest rider on her fat, little miniature paint horse keeping up with the group!
One of the last events to wrap up the Gore A&P Show was a parade through the main ring of all the livestock and horses that had earned ribbons throughout the day, along with a parade of all the machinery and show cars. Last but not least there was even a gum boot throwing competition! Just about every single person in New Zealand owns a pair of gum boots (rubber boots/muck boots). They even have a gum boot song…I’ll try to find it for everyone’s enjoyment for a later post. Even though we did encounter a little rain, it was a great day spent outside with good friends and learning more about what it means to be a New Zealander.