12 March 2006

Robertson Show 2006 fun and games

Bruce and Bruce discussing this fine bike
The Robertson Show is a great Australian country show. There is the traditional competitions for horses, cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, alpacas, and other livestock and farm animals and sideshows. The pavilion has displays of many, many arts and crafts (which we enjoy entering) and it is a good reason for all of the locals and anyone from remotely nearby to enjoy themselves.
Throughout the day there is non stop banter by four commentators - Bruce, Bruce, Bruce and Paddy. These four blokes go on and on and generally enjoy themselves. They announce upcoming events and provide information but that seems to be only a minor interruption to their interaction with anyone they see in the crowd. The central arena has a dirt track along the outside. To keep the famous red dust down they have the fire brigade ("firies") drive along spreading water via a sprinkler. Early in the day before the bicycle races Bruce asked if the firies were around to water the track. They weren't ready so Bruce announced, "Are they all in the toilet? We'll get them when they get back!" From then on, between each race or whenever they wanted the track watered, Bruce would announce, "Are the firies out of the toilet yet?" (Imagine all this banter in a classic Aussie accent)

James and Peter being caught on the inside lane
The part we participated in yesterday (seeing as we were there all day!) were the races. The boys all rode in their races and realised they weren't as fast as they wished. More practice will improve their chances next year.
Then there were gig races. This is where gigs created for shetland pony trotting races are used by the children with one pulling and another in the jockey's seat. They wanted to have children from the same school so we entered Peter and James together. Bruce asked each of the teams their school and then called the race using the school names. So we heard on the speakers, "Roberston is in the lead and Burrawang has cut off the Homeschoolers, but the Homeschoolers are pulling hard!" We didn't qualify for the finals but they had fun.
Later in the day in the gig finals, one of the finalists wasn't there so the organiser came over to us and asked, "Do your boys want to go in?" Eric and Peter said, "Sure!" and they raced in the finals anyway, ending up equal third.
The organisers have rules, but they aren't very rigid rules. If they could get more children in the race they would. If it didn't look fair they would apply handicaps, if that wouldn't work, they actively assisted the underdogs.

Next year I'll be bigger
At 3:00pm there were the Australian Championships of the Spud Race. It is an Australian championship the same way that the US World Series has international entries. The warm up races were the junior and ladies competitions where the participants had to carry a 12.5kg (27.5 lbs) sack around the track of 400m (450 yds). Eric had been practicing for the last four weeks, but as the age group was 12 to 15, he was one of the smallest. He made it to end and will be bigger next year, but he was very tired.
The Australian Championships had the fellows carrying 50kg (110lb) sacks of potatoes around the same track. There were a few spills from over balancing and one fellow decided he wanted a ride by the vehicle that follows the last runner. As first prize was $1,000 ($750 US) and locals get a bonus $300 for the first local to cross the line they had many entrants. The man who won was a local so he earned $1,300 ($975 US). "That'll get you a few beers, mate" announced Bruce and Paddy.
The Wheelbarrow races were next and Eric was talked into pushing Peter. They finished third and have ribbons as prizes.
As the organisers didn't have the correct ribbons for the novelty races Bruce announced, "We've run out of blue ribbons, so pick any ribbons you like. everyone gets a ribbon at the Robinson show!"
By the time we finished the day, Eric had ridden in the bicycle race, pulled the gig in two races, pushed the wheelbarrow in two races, carried the potatoes around the track and ran with me looking for Peter at the end. Needless to say, he did not make much noise after getting into bed!

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