The forecast, rather than the actual weather, hit crowd numbers at Saturday's Te Puke A&P Show.

Just a few short showers during the day contrasted with the predicted long and heavy spells of rain. Nevertheless, show secretary Kim Cawte says numbers through the gate were down by about two-thirds on 2017's bumper crowds.

Rishi Preet Singh was one of the six competitors in the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year contest held in conjunction with the Te Puke A&P show.
Rishi Preet Singh was one of the six competitors in the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year contest held in conjunction with the Te Puke A&P show.

"It wasn't too bad," she says. "The truck and tractor pulling was really cool and the lawnmower guys were great, although I don't know if they could see because they had mud and stuff all over them."

A&P Association president Murray Jensen says this year's show was a good effort all round.

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Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Dylan Cooper, 14, on the have-a-go excavator.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Dylan Cooper, 14, on the have-a-go excavator.

"The trade space was awesome considering everything. There were not too many that didn't show up and a reasonable number of people were there, although it was definitely nothing like last year.

"The forecast was the problem. Most people probably make their mind up between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning and it wasn't looking very good at that stage."

Te Puke A&P Show: Sheep racing was as popular as ever.
Te Puke A&P Show: Sheep racing was as popular as ever.

He says he walked around the trade stalls and spoke to many of the stallholders.

"Most of them had talked to a few people.

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Te Puke Young Farmers organised several competitions including the tug o' war.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Te Puke Young Farmers organised several competitions including the tug o' war.

"There is a fairly big buzz within the kiwifruit industry with another 1400ha of gold getting released over the next year or two, although there is a little bit of quiet concern out there about where the labour's going to come from, especially around harvest time.

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. James Sullivan, 10, with his kitten Socks.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. James Sullivan, 10, with his kitten Socks.

"But apart from that, the economy, especially in Te Puke with the backbone of it being kiwifruit, at the end of the day, is pretty positive at the moment."

Kim says the only event that was cancelled was the sheep shearing and the Jaguar car owners decided against bringing their cars for display.

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Judging in the cattle ring.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Judging in the cattle ring.

"Everybody was really positive, which was the main thing," she says.

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"The fun pony ring was great, the [Te Puke] Young Farmers did a great job of the tug o' war and everybody says they are coming back next year.

"The trikes were cool, some of them came down from Auckland, and the horses and hounds are always great."

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Keely Bryan at the petting corner.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Keely Bryan at the petting corner.

The show played host for the second time to the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of he Year competition, organised by the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. The contest pitted the skills of six competitors in their 20s against one another over eight horticulture-based activities ranging from orchard accounting and soil testing to tractor driving.

"Despite the wet weather it was great to see our contestants giving it their all. It was also a great opportunity for those watching the competition to see the high calibre of young people currently working in our industry," said Katy McGinity, Bay of Plenty Young Fruitgrower Upskilling Committee chairwoman.

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. George Hall of the Kiwi Trikers.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. George Hall of the Kiwi Trikers.

The winner of the competition will be announced at a gala dinner this evening.

The trade exhibits were judged by National MPs Anne Tolley and Todd McClay with Te Puke Fire Brigade winning first prize, New Zealand Avocados second and the combined exhibition by Te Puke Forest and Bird, Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society, Te Whakakaha Trust and Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust taking third place.

Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Mikaela Van Den Heuvel from Waikite Valley Pony Club on Baloo in the showjumping ring.
Te Puke A&P Show 2018. Mikaela Van Den Heuvel from Waikite Valley Pony Club on Baloo in the showjumping ring.