The tens of thousands of guests flocking to Wanaka are not the only ones looking forward to this week’s A&P Show; the event’s organisers are equally as excited as they wait to see their hard work come to life.
When asked what he is looking forward to the most, Upper Clutha A&P Society (UCAPS) board chairman Grant Ruddenklau said, “The anticipation of another amazing event, the animals, exhibits, competitions, diverse trade stands and the myriads of people enjoying themselves in a very picturesque, carnival atmosphere!”
Ruddenklau, the first chair of the recently formed UCAPS board, has been involved with the Wanaka A&P Show for 15 years, most recently as vice president of the UCAPS executive committee. UCAPS owns and organises the annual event, which has been running for more than 80 years after the society’s inception in 1932.
Ruddenklau told the Wanaka Sun that every year the show is unique in its own way.
“I would like to highlight the ‘Pembroke’ membership option this year; this entitles members entry to the ‘Presidents’ tent area and somewhere to sit down ringside to get out of the heat, watch the action, [and enjoy] complimentary tea, coffee, nibbles and a drink and, most of all, good company.”
He said that despite being at the helm of such a diverse agricultural and pastoral event, he still has his favourite components.
“I still love watching the cattle judging; having [been] involved in the cattle section it’s hard not to sneak back and watch the diverse breeds of cattle. The Jack [Russell Terrier] race and grand parade are also a must see. Then, later in the day, the bar is a great place to catch up with our old Southland friends as I left Dipton 17 years ago.”
UCAPS board is in its very early days of establishing its policies, procedures and strategic plan; however, Ruddenklau said the event will no doubt evolve under the new governance. There will be five people roaming through the show tomorrow and Saturday with “Board Member” printed on their lanyards. “If you see one, tell them what you think is important to keep this as one of Wanaka’s favourite events,” he said.
Ruddenklau said the event would not be possible without the involvement from individuals and groups. “...our management staff, members, volunteers, community groups, competitors, trade stall holders, exhibitors, sponsors and our strategic partner, Farmlands, are all integral to the continuing success of this event,” he said.
Rare breed joins traditional livestock classes
The livestock and equestrian events at this Friday's and Saturday's Wanaka A&P Show will include animals from far and wide, including a rare sheep breed from farms in north Canterbury.
Robert and Jean Forrester from Omihi farm in partnership with Lisa and James Thompson from Christchurch and have 150 Ile-de-France ewes, a few of which will join the rare breed event at this year’s show. The sheep are native to the French region of Ile-de-France near Paris.
“There were originally only a few Ile-de-France sheep in New Zealand, originally imported from Australia,” said Jean Forrester. “We brought them over to north Canterbury as they are meant to produce well in dry conditions. They are a half-bred sheep and bred for meat and growth.”
The entries for the 2019 Wanaka A&P livestock and equestrian events include 230 in the equestrian classes, 45 cattle, 44 Boer goats, 130 sheep and 120 fleece entries at the time the Wanaka Sun went to print.