Show sideshow strikes a blow for entertainment

By Genevieve Helliwell

It's not often you're allowed to pick up a sledge hammer and smash a car - but Caleb Wadsworth enjoyed the opportunity at the Te Puke A&P; Show.

The Te Puke boy showed off his strength at one of the popular exhibits at the 107th annual show on Saturday.

Wearing safety goggles and protective gloves, Caleb, 12, was one of more than a hundred people who helped smash the car beyond repair.

"I've never smashed a car before," Caleb said.

"I felt a bit nervous at the start ... but it was pretty cool. The metal [on the car] was pretty strong and the sledge hammer was heavy. My friend said I picked up the heaviest one."

The car was part of the Te Puke volunteer fire brigade exhibition, which was a fundraising activity for the brigade's centenary in October.

Fire Brigade volunteer Steve Bradford said the car was in a driveable state before the crowds took to it with a sledge hammer and other equipment off the fire truck.

"The car was donated from Cavanagh Panelbeaters in Te Puke and we were going to cut it up as part of our demonstration of our cutting gear, the jaws of life. But then we thought we could use it as a fundraiser ... so for $1 a minute people could hit it as much as they wanted.

"It was really well received and there were heaps of people wanting to do it. The car was pretty beaten up by the time the guys cut it up," he said.

The car smash was one of about 80 stalls at the annual show, which varied from live entertainment, livestock competitions, agri-cultural demonstrations and displays, amusements, side shows and more, said event secretary and treasurer Kim Cawte.

The hot weather and varied event programme saw record numbers of guests through the gates, although final figures would not be ready until later this week, she said.

"It was a fantastic event, the weather was absolutely beautiful and everyone seemed to be having such a good time. The pony hunter ring was such a success, we're definitely going to do that again, there was some great food and the Chelsea's Dog Show was another hit."

The chainsaw sculpting competition and the digger competitions were other crowd favourites. The pet centre also generated a lot of interest and showed off rabbits, guinea pigs and "the biggest chooks" Miss Cawte had ever seen.

"It's a really fantastic event and next year we're hoping to take it that bit further and include more home industries and have garden stores involved," she said. "We'd still have all the animals and events that people love but this will just give it something extra."

She thanked the A&P; committee and said she looked forward to a break before beginning to organise next year's event.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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