President’s Report 2020
The 2020 Nowra Show saw us in the grapples of probably the worst bushfire crisis that not only NSW, but possibly the entire country, had ever seen.
The show committee was left in the difficult position of whether to run or cancel the show, as many of our close and associated societies were forced to cancel their beloved events. Having the benefit of extra time and the work of our emergency services in the local area the committee made the unanimous decision to move forward with the 2020 show.
Given the circumstances that the wider community were facing with the devastating effect the fires inflicted on us all the Nowra Show Committee made the decision to provide complimentary entry to the 2020 Nowra Show. This was the committee’s way of giving back to the people who had supported the show over the years and provide a platform to reunite us all whilst welcoming new visitors back to the coast after the Christmas & New Year shutdowns.
The community embraced this gesture and the show committee was rewarded with not only allowing our regular attendees and members a complimentary visit, we saw many new faces at the show.
Our dedicated Rotary volunteers who normally collect entry fees greeted our patrons at the gate and conducted a quick survey to gain some insight into how the attendees heard about the show and if they had ever attended a rural show before. Around 20% of attendees said this was their first ever visit to an Agricultural Show, which was very enlightening and uplifting news.
As we now know, the Nowra Show was also responsible for breaking the drought as it was probably one of the wettest shows in recent history with rain falling throughout both days of the show. Notwithstanding this, the crowds came out and members of the committee noted that we did not receive one complaint about the rain, nor did we see any faces without a smile.
Entries were extraordinarily strong. After the cancellation of other local shows, it was a blessing for the Nowra Show to be able to offer the opportunity for exhibitors to attend and show.
Cattle numbers were very impressive and the calibre and condition of the exhibits were outstanding, especially given that the community was dealing with the continuing effects of the drought, with fire evacuations and with asset protection of their homes and farms.
The Nowra Poultry Club had a bumper attendance with this section of the show increasing in popularity each year. Many happy faces were seen enjoying the demonstration of chook washing.
Another highlight was the outstanding level of competition within the horse events under what could only be described as testing conditions for our competitors and the stewards. Although some events were forced to be abandoned most of the card was completed.
The added area was this managed by head steward James Thompson. Set up was conducted early by our dedicated volunteers, who could see some weather building. Come Friday the area was looking great with an outstanding level of exhibitions on display. From farm machinery, through to the NSW Rural Fire Service display and the ever popular and award-winning animal nursery, this section of the show displays the level of passion and dedication of all those involved. The rain set in and we had our very own Shoalhaven River tributary cascading through many parts of the grounds. Despite this people still attended and the smiles were evident.
The attractions were outstanding across the board with the rain breaking in time for Friday night’s Rodeo, which again brought cheers from the crowd as we watched a great event. The ground was good and moist to soften the falls and I think the Bulls took line honours this year.
This year’s dog high jump had an incredible amount of entries. This is a real crowd pleaser and the time allocated for the event had to be extended as the K9’s battled it out for the top dog position.
On Saturday night the anticipation and crowd grew as we eagerly awaited what is arguably one of our trump card attractions produced by our committee members. And it did not disappoint. With the rain lightly falling (at times rather more heavily) the flag went down on the capacity field of vehicles that had certainly seen better days and the destruction and mayhem began to the cheers of everyone. The time and effort that goes into bringing this event to life is immense with a huge appreciation to Tom, Big Jim & Min for all the hard work. Special mention also to Chance Hanlon for his work calling the events on Saturday night. He is a true professional and local crowd favourite.
The centre ring was overseen by our Ring Master Mr John Bennett who again showed his immense skills and experience to produce a seamless run of attractions through the pouring rain. Congratulations to John and his stewards.
We were also privileged to have our local heroes from the NSW Rural Fire Service conduct an amazing demonstration of their precision tree felling skills with a special thanks to Ron & Steve McKinnon and their dedicated members for putting this together. The final pole to fall was ceremoniously cut by Superintendent Mark Williams who felled the tree perfectly on top of a picture that represented the Currowan Fire. Thanks to Ruth McKinnon for the idea and provision of the artwork.
The Pavilion was once again presented magnificently with the tireless work of Faye, Jill and their team of amazing helpers who put together a spectacular display of exhibits. This year the Pavilion also played host to our radio broadcasts from ABC Radio and 2ST, which added to the experience of patrons.
The axemen not only battled against the blocks but contended with some harsh conditions that eventually led to the tough decision to cancel some events. The level of competition was again to the highest standards and I thank the team from the woodchop for their dedication and perseverance in the prevailing weather.
Chris and the catering team have again gone above and beyond producing delightful offerings at the show and throughout the year. The care, skill, attention to detail and quality of hospitality produced is a real credit to the catering team.
Another key section of the Nowra Show is our Show Girl competition. The event continues to provide young women the opportunity to gain valuable life skills whilst networking and making new friends. Thank you to Jessica and the showgirl team for your tireless contribution and guidance with the girls in the competition. It is something that all entrants will value into the future.
Being a “Rookie”, President I really did rely heavily on my executive committee in too many ways to list. I take this opportunity to thank everyone, with a special mention to Jessica at the treasurer’s desk, outgoing secretary Robyn, who really did keep me on time, on track and up to date whilst assisting Sue as our new and hardworking secretary. To the past presidents that I called for counsel along the way, your input, knowledge, and willingness to offer your time was invaluable to me and I thank you also.
There are so many to thank within our show community, from our stewards, to all exhibitors and sponsors. You are all critical components to making our show one that I, and all the committee, can be enormously proud of.
As we head toward the 2021 Show, which will no doubt present its own unique set of challenges, I thank everyone once again for your support, input, hard work and fellowship along the way.