24 March 2023

Yass folk show exactly what they're made of

| Sally Hopman
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Girl with horse

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Teneille Tuoro, of Carwoola, gave it a good try during a break in her events with her horse Miles at the Yass Show last weekend. Photo: Sally Hopman.

It’s only after the dust settles on the region’s local agricultural shows that many of the real yarns surface.

Like how they’ve lasted this long in the first place. It’s only after you spend a few hours at one/two/15 of them that the dagwood dog drops and you see why they’ve lasted as long as they have.

It’s not the showbags – nothing much to show these days. Let’s bring back the ones that showed off new products, preferably lollies.

It’s not the rides – certainly not the mechanical ones, but we’ll give the animal ones a yippee or two.

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It’s the people. The same volunteers who turn up a week or so before the event every year, as well, of course, as the regular meetings held throughout the year to determine working bees, whose ute can carry what and who will be chief steward of floral arrangements this year.

The Yass Show, for example, is one of the best because, mainly, the same group of people have been volunteering their time, forever. Partly because their parents did, partly because they want to. Doesn’t matter why, it’s just what they do.

You couldn’t draw a picture that better illustrated such service than that of long-time volunteer, Monica Field. Mrs Field, never one to seek the limelight, apparently had to be subject to rather a lot of subterfuge so show officials could entice her out to publicly accept the honour – the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW medal, presented by the 2023 Yass Young Woman Grace Armour. Round of applause please.

Two women

Yass Show stalwart Monica Field receives her special medal from the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW for her lifetime-plus years of volunteer service to the Yass show. It was presented to her by the 2023 Young Woman, Grace Armour. Photo: Yass Show Society.

It turns out she has been volunteering for 80 years, yes, 80.

Although few volunteers have racked up such service, many are coming close. They start work on the next show just after the main arena microphone has been switched off for the last.

Floods, drought, drops in volunteer numbers have all been thrown at such shows over the years, but they still manage to open their gates, albeit down to one day this year and last from the full weekend of events years ago.

The 2023 event ran last weekend, but sometimes only after the event do you get the real story. And like most true-blue volunteers/generally good people, they hate any moment in the limelight.

We promised we wouldn’t mention Mrs Field’s age but, seriously, that was always going to be a lie. She is 88 – and a legend.

Lego display

Jake Pholi’s remarkable Lego creation of an early Australian gold mining scene won just about everything on offer at the Yass Show. Photo: Yass Show Society.

Here are a few more of the unsung show folk and their remarkable skills as recognised with certificates, ribbons and even a sash or two last Saturday.

Keep the applause going for Jake Pholi, who created a Lego masterpiece for the junior section that also took out Grand Champion Junior Exhibit of the Pavilion. It was a remarkable rural scene, complete with Lego farmers in hats panning for gold.

Just a few special mentions: Jim Bushell for Best in Show in the Poultry Section for his bantam Australorp pullet, local chemist Andrew Douglas for best banana cake, special mention to Yass Jewellers, Yass Book Store and Yass Valley Vets for decorating their shop windows a la show, coming in first, second and third respectively.

Decorated wheelbarrow

Best display in a wheelbarrow went to Egan Bradley for this piece of bucolic bliss complete with a garden gnome. Photo: Sally Hopman.

But wait, there’s more – the naturally, hotly contested best scones on a plate went to Noeleen Hazell, Fiona Mason was most successful open exhibitor, best jam-filled sponge maker and champion date and nut roll maker, taking out the Marjorie Pyne Memorial Trophy.

The most successful men’s cookery exhibitor was Timothy Bocquet (and best young dahlia grower too), while John and Lyn Anderson were the cut flower champions, Zara Schulte best grower of mixed vegetables and Helen Lee the open cookery champ. Best decorated wheelbarrow (Juniors) – it was wheely good – went to Egan Bradley while Elizabeth Smith nailed it as patchwork champion.

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Yass Show Society president Anne Hazell said the medal presentation to Mrs Field was one of the highlights of her 2023 show, along with a good crowd on the day – estimated at about 3000. (Winning the Most Successful Exhibitor in Jams and Preserves was also sweet).

Special mention to everyone else who won something or was highly commended for their efforts. Onya. Can’t wait to see what you all show up with again next year.

Post-script: Even when it was all over, show folk took to social media that someone had over-ordered on the straw. “Leftovers now available,” it said. “Bring own wheelbarrow.”

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