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Five finalists announced today in annual award for ag show dedication in NSW

Announcement posted by Writers Who 15 Jun 2021

Dedication is central to volunteerism, says peak ag show body.

The most dedicated individuals from nearly 200 agricultural shows in NSW have been recognised this week by the peak body in its annual awards. 

President of the Agricultural Societies Council of New South Wales, Tim Capp of Gresford, says this award recognises people who have shown devotion and constancy to their show society.

“Millions of people go to agricultural shows every year, and they’re almost entirely run by volunteers,” Mr Capp said.

Shows in NSW have been running for 200 years, and each local show has its own distinct event. 

The 2021 finalists come from shows in West Wyalong, Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Walcha and Orange. 

In the central west of NSW, Orange Show Society, nominated immediate past president since 2005 Peter Naylor

“The Naylor family have been involved with the Orange Show for many generations, with his mother Betty being a staunch supporter and as such Peter was involved with the Show from a young age,” Mr Capp said.

“In Peter’s time as President, he oversaw many challenges and filled many roles such as pavilion steward, council liaison and grounds organiser.”

In the north of the state Walcha Show Society nominated show secretary Dale Webber.

“Dale was central to Walcha's record-breaking show this year despite the added complications of covid restrictions. She managed more than twenty sections and organised show sponsorship,” Mr Capp said.

“Dale also ran a targeted campaign to achieve an increase in show membership of nearly 20 per cent, successfully lodged grant applications and installed a new show office.”

Finalist Wilma Drower of Blacktown City Show has been a member of the Blacktown City Show for 25 years including ten years in the top job as president. 

“Wilma coordinates the Showgirl competition, organises the popular Ute Muster and all show entertainment as well as overseeing an auction of goods with the proceeds going to charity,” Mr Capp said.  

“As a councillor at Blacktown City Council, Wilma has been instrumental in ensuring the upkeep of infrastructure and encouraging the use of Showground amenities by other community groups.”

One show that had an enormously successful comeback from covid, Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association which achieved record crowd numbers, nominated Ross Matheson

“Ross is the president and has been a member of the association for over 40 years. His commitment is 365 days a year as the showground is an all-year business, hosting a range of events throughout the year,” Mr Capp said.

“His contribution to the development of the showground from a bare tract of land in 1986 to one of the premier showground and event facilities in the Greater Western Region is noteworthy.”

Leonie Campbell of West Wyalong Show Society was nominated for stepping into the chief steward position of her show in 1996, when it was unexpectedly vacant. She holds that position today. 

Previous winners include Heather and Colin Woodhouse (Molong),Lyal Lee (Morisset Lake Macquarie), Amanda Flemming (Taree) and Martin Morris (Dubbo) .

The winner will be announced on 19 June 2021 at the NSW State Conference themed “Adapt, Sustain, Grow” for agricultural shows, with shows joining digitally from ten regional locations: Armidale, Bathurst, Bombaderry, Casino, Dubbo, Goulburn, Narrandera, North Ryde, Port Macquarie and Singleton. 

Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of Resilience NSW will open the conference, and topics will include recruiting volunteers, engaging younger people, tips for running a covid safe show and success stories from shows across the state.  

Mr Capp says that agricultural shows require a variety and volume of volunteers, totalling some 20,000 in NSW which comprise the biggest volunteer network in the nation.

A study conducted by Agricultural Shows Australia found that the average country show had 21 volunteer committee members, and on average 2694 volunteer hours went into preparation for the annual show with each volunteer donating 121 hours each a year to their country show.