Liz and I arrived at the A&P show in Rai Valley a little before 9am. We had left home quite early to give us plenty of time to get there, as we were unsure what we would find after the storm the night before. We had even packed up essentials just in case we got stuck in flooding. As it were, our fears were unfounded and although it was muddy, the rain had stopped by the time we got there, and as the day went on, we even got a tiny bit of blue sky.
Rai Valley is a small valley between Blenheim and Nelson, and rather beautiful. It has the gorgeous Pelorus River, lush farmland, and is always a pleasure to drive through. The art indicating male/female on the public loos there, is superb!
The show itself is held not far from the main road, and has a natural ampitheatre where the gymkhana events are held...
After judging the photo competition inside the hall, Liz and I got out cameras out and walked around the show, and talked to some of the gorgeous looking locals...
We watched some of the cows being judged, and I learnt that they're judged on the way they walk around their udders, and their strong ligament at the back of them, so the udders don't droop as they get older. Sounds like us women could do with those so we don't droop when we are older either!
The best part of the show was the Rai Challenge. A team effort where one has to Shear a Sheep, Skin a Possum, and carry a Wild Pig around an Obstacle course. The best team gets the following log of wood as a trophy. I'm not sure who won it at the end, but it was a load of fun to watch and photograph. I must warn you here though, that if you're squeamish, I advise you to stop looking at this blogpost now. I also want to let you know, that Possums in New Zealand are pests - and the only good possum is a dead one. They have no natural predators here, and are busy eating their way through our native forests, killing trees. We have about 6 billion of them, and they're incredibly hard to get rid of. Which is why they are hunted and we've turned possum fur into a million dollar industry.
Shearing the sheep was no problem for this man - he's obviously an old hand at it!
I watched and learnt how to skin the possum, as the process is the same for rabbits, and I wanted to know how so I can skin my cats catch. The outcome would be a nice blanket for her. Unfortunately she's stopped catching rabbits. Perhaps she doesn't want a new blanket?
The obstacle course for the wild boar, probably caught the morning of the race. Now this particular animal would have been about 60kg (or so I was told). It was pretty big. Marlborough area has lots of hunting areas - lots of bush/forests, and I know of some people that hunt as a way to top up their freezer when out of work.
The boar actually looks quite comfy... But a lot of effort is being expended by the human!