28 February 2020

Woodchoppers the show-stoppers at the Royal Canberra Show

| Michael Weaver
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Royal Canberra Show, Canberra Show

Axemen and women from around Australia will feature in the ever-popular woodchopping competitions at this year’s Royal Canberra Show. Photo: Supplied.

Woodchoppers will be one of the many show-stoppers as Canberra celebrates the end of a harsh summer at this year’s ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show.

Almost 600 logs will yield to the blades of axemen and women from around Australia during the ever-popular woodchopping competitions which this year will include tree-felling, underhand and standing block and sawing events, as well as ladies, junior and novice competitions.

Royal Canberra Show woodchop section head Andrew Wiseman said there will be strong competition in what is one of Australia’s first sports. Woodchopping can trace its origins to 1870 in Ulverston, Tasmania.

“To have 63 woodchoppers entered means the event will be very strong with little time between the 80 chops over the two days,” Mr Wiseman said. “We will see some of the best axemen and women in the country battle it out, which will be an awesome spectacle.”

Nine axemen will compete in the three-board tree-felling event on Saturday, with a further 18 contesting the one-board event on Sunday. Organisers are proud to have six juniors sharpening their skills during the weekend.

“Seeing 598 logs arriving this week for the two-day chop is fantastic and support from local businesses is always appreciated,” Mr Wiseman said.

The Royal Canberra Show unofficially began on Thursday (27 February) with a first-ever sensory-friendly event held in partnership with Marymead. In a fully sold-out event, families experienced the show in a sensory-friendly way, complete with animals, rides and show bags.

Show organisers from the Royal National Capital Agricultural Society (RNCAS) said ideal weather is forecast for all three days, a welcome change after several country shows had been affected by drought and bushfire this year resulting in many being cancelled.

The Show’s general manager Michael Kennedy said the cancellation of more than 10 regional shows in recent months weighed heavily on board members.

“We understand the huge impact the drought, fires, smoke and storms have and are having on our community locally, regionally and nationally,” Mr Kennedy said. “Our exhibitors, visitors, competitors, their animals and our staff have all been impacted in various ways but we are very conscious that the show plays an important part in a lot of people’s lives.”

It’s not only a platform for local producers to highlight their wares, but it’s also an important event that brings the urban and rural communities together.

“It was very important to us that we give people, either competitors or the public, somewhere to come and meet with friends, share a healthy meal, have a beer, and enjoy some music and entertainment. And thankfully, the recent rain has helped raise both spirits and the number of entries.”

Mr Kennedy said attendance at the show will help local farmers get back on their feet, with the RNCAS donating a portion of every ticket sale to Need for Feed for livestock feed and BlazeAid for rebuilding after the fires.

Working dogs

Working dog trials will be part of the Royal Canberra Show this weekend. Photo: Royal Canberra Show.

The new-look night program includes world-class freestyle motocross stunts and V8 utes, while the Urban All-Stars and the Outback Outlaws will perform thrill-seeking bike and car stunts for the glory of winning the golden helmet.

Australia’s top freestyle motocross riders and two professional stunt drivers from Movie World on the Gold Coast will feature in their high-performance drift utes. The team includes locals Gary Reid and Jack McNeice who were both born and bred in Canberra, before making it big in the world of stunt performing.

Canberra Show favourites include rides and sideshow attractions, show bags, along with the ActewAGL Farmyard Nursery, milking demonstrations and the much-loved horse and dog events. You can also attend an ‘ask a farmer’ session with Dr Fiona Sanderson or take a selfie with Texas Longhorn cattle.

The Royal Canberra Show has been running since 1927, starting life at the Hall Showgrounds. The show is now held at Exhibition Park and is well serviced by the new light rail with lots of public parking.

Tickets are available from the Royal Canberra Show website, with all pre-sale tickets getting free travel to and from the show via bus or light rail services.

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