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The 127th Hughenden show has Augustine Snapping Happily

June 8, 2010

By Augustine Mathews

As a famous movie once said – if you build it they will come – and they did!! The 127th Hughenden Show opened yesterday and people were rushing around trying to see how they’d done with their entries in the various categories.

There was a lot of really positive feedback from the judging of the photography section. Sherliee (my Hughenden host) had asked me to make a few comments about some of the winners and the non-winners so that people would know what went wrong. Those comments apparently were viewed as being a really good idea. Indeed I had people coming up to me to get clarification of why I would have chopped out some of the big white cloudy sky, and why putting something off-centre is better compositionally. It was great.

My day was spent racing around taking promo shots for the show. I must admit I had a ball. The people here are so friendly. When I would explain to the equestrian riders what I was doing and would they mind if the shots were potentially used for future advertising the beaming pride in their smiles said it all. A few of the younger riders came looking for me throughout the day to give me an update on their progress as they accumulated more and more ribbons.

During the lunch break for the riders in the main arena the goat races are held. Yep – you read that right – goat races. It seems that this sport actually has a fine tradition and was an event big enough to attract bookies and punters in the past. Now it is staged mostly for the children, and boy, did they enjoy it? It is quite something to see these little children, wearing their silks with pride, hurtling down the race way being towed by a goat whose incentive is a bucket of oats. These goats must love oats because they were flying. The joy on the faces of the children and the amusement for all the spectators makes this an event for the whole crowd and everyone was really getting into it. 3 heats and a final produced a very proud winner and some great photos for me.

Having a camera around the neck sure does open some doors. I was asked to go and photograph the awarding of the prizes for the fleeces (as in wool shorn from the sheep’s back) and after a bit flash testing I had it all sorted and got shots of one family team that scooped the pool this year in the fleece judging. I asked the champion fleece growers (? – haven’t quite got the jargon right yet J) if I could take their photo in front of their fleece. Well it turns out the gentleman in the shot was the town mayor, and after letting me know which of Hughenden’s sights were a must see he offered me a car if I needed one. Imagine that – me in the mayor’s car! Did I mention that the people of Hughenden are generous as well as friendly?

My country education certainly got a lift today. I had the chance to learn about cows? Cattle? Cows? I should have found out what I was learning about. I want to get the wording right. Either way, I learnt that cow’s hate a crush, but more than a crush, cattle hate having their teeth counted. Apparently knowing whether your beast has no teeth, 2, 4, 6 or 8 teeth is very important. It seems that teeth come in at certain ages and they use a tooth count to class the animals so that “you are comparing apples with apples” (hang on; I’m sure the fruit was in the main pavilion?). It was quite amazing to hear these 600kg+ animals bellowing at the indignity of having someone pry open their lips and count their teeth. Wait til they find out what happens to them after the show.

Tonight should be an event to behold. The sashing of “Miss Showgirl” at the Basalt Bash Ball. Unfortunately no one mentioned the ball before I left home so I have nothing to wear (says Cinderella). I did consider going to the local boutique and seeing if I couldn’t find something more appropriate than the jeans I have packed but it is show day public holiday here in Hughenden …. and I’m not even sure they even have a boutique? Sherliee does assure me that as the photographer I’ll be forgiven for not being in a ball dress and really, for practicality it’s probably not a bad thing.

Catch you all tomorrow. They do the chicken judging tomorrow which is apparently a photographers dream

Mayor Brendan McNamara and Champion Fleece

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