The Hawke's Bay A and P Society is making a strong bid to attract a member of the royal family to its show next year.
The hopes were confirmed by general manager Brent Linn yesterday at the end of the 153rd annual show in Hastings, the second of three in a row as the Royal A and P Show of New Zealand.
It's almost 27 years since British monarchy visited Hawke's Bay, during the sesqui-centennial tour in which the Queen opened the new Wairoa Bridge in 1990.
With the society having also expressed interest to the Royal Agricultural Society in continuing to host the royal show beyond 2017, Mr Linn said: "We are continuing to work with New Zealand diplomatic services and the politicians to have a royal presence here.
"To reflect that it is the royal show and it has a royal charter, we would like to see royal representation," he said.
He was speaking otherwise with a sigh of relief as forecast heavy rain did not eventuate - at least not at the showgrounds.
With predictions of a wet three days from as much as a fortnight out developing into a near absolute-forecast of rain for the crucial People's Day, such people as Mr Linn, president Richard Chambers and new RAS president Geoff Smith, of Waiuku, saw the show out without gumboots, and with dry footpaths the evidence the black clouds had failed to deliver on their threats all day.
"We dodged a bullet today," said Mr Linn, who believes attendance figures across the three days have been similar to the 2015 count of just under 23,000.
Rain that did fall for a short time early yesterday had the impact of spreading crowd attendance on the big day out, with the benefit that the lack of some of the rushes of some past years put less pressure on staff running the show. They included grounds manager Ross Williams and last month ring-in and farmer Brian Douglas, who had the job of turning a mid-winter farm into a showgrounds in just a few weeks.
A feature of major events was the international class of competitions, the highest-profile being a World Cup showjumping qualifying round won by Manawatu rider Lucy Fell (nee Akers) on former racehorse Tinapai.
The same partnership claimed the horsewoman Lady Rider of the Year honours at the Horse of the Year Show in the same arena in 2011 and 2014 and a first World Cup series round at Mystery Creek last November.
In the shearing pavilion, reigning world shearing champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, successfully defended the Great Raihania Shears Open title while 2012 world woolhandling champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, won yesterday's open woolhandling title. Nearby world farm fencing champion and Smedley Cadet instructor Shane Bouskill and son Tony won the royal show pairs fencing title.
There was also a big win in the sheep dog trials for Northern Hawke's Bay farmer Sheena Martin and trusty canine Troy.