Busy Rachel proves to be star of Wairoa show

By Doug Laing

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They had an ironman event at the Wairoa A and P Show on Saturday, but much of the talk was about a diminutive ironwoman mixing the duties of show vice-presidency with competing in most of the show's most gruelling events.

Rachel Martin, tipping the scales at around 45kg, had little time for talking as she darted between events on Friday, taking part in the sheepdog trials and the showjumping, before tackling an all-too-brief steer ride in the evening.

It didn't stop there, for the next morning, with a bit of painkiller on board, according to local rumour, she competed in the junior heats, while across the showgrounds lay one of the fleeces she had entered in the wool section, and the chutney she entered in the home industries classes.

It all helped make the show one of its most successful in several years, with big crowds watching the Friday night's local rodeo and its national circuit events the next day, just a few metres from the shearing competitions which also attracted a strong following.

Both events had a special focus on young competitors and were rewarded with significant entries, along with equestrian events which drew not only some of the North Island's top competitors, but also their children, said show secretary Sue Wilson.

New show president David Martin (no relation of Rachel Martin) said crowds and gate-takings were up on each of the last two shows since the catastrophe of a washed-out show in 2010. He said along with the positive atmosphere the show saw the benefits of "a few hundred dollars" spent on marketing and promotion.

"After that show," he said, "we had to do something.

"We wouldn't have survived another show like it."

There was also more trade-site interest, with new bookings being made even after the start of the three-day show, which dates back to a Country Ram Fair and Show first held at Frasertown in in 1899.


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