A lifetime love affair with Rockhampton Show

Picture: Rockhampton Show Society

By Cr Ellen Smith (mcevoy)

My love affair with the Show started way back when I was born in the 50’s. My parents, Tom and

Cath McEvoy never missed a show, so my siblings Mary, Trish and later on John, always took a note

to school on the Wednesday of the Show to let the teachers know we would be missing the rest of

the week.

Coming from a cattle property, cattle and horses were my familys’ main interests, so after excitedly

going through the main gate, and getting a family photo we headed off to the prime cattle judging.

One year we entered Hereford bullocks that didn’t get a prize ‘on hoof’, but we were awarded

second against some stiff competition when they were processed.

After purchasing a showbag each, we headed to the main grandstand to watch the ring events,

where the ‘salesmen’ walking around with a glass box which hung around their necks with the

chorus of ‘waffles and toffee apples’.

This all changed in 1964 when we joined the Crompton Park Pony Club and competed for the first

time at the Rocky Show. It was there that they always held a Horse Sale and my parents bought our

very first show pony Ben Hur, he had been unbeaten during the circuit. He would go on to teach us

all the art of showriding, doing natural flying changes in the workouts.

Trish and I went on to compete for many years, and at one stage Trish had won every Perpetual

Trophy in the Horse Ring. In 1971, Trish competed in the Showgirl Competition, a big feature of the

Show riding a Palimino stallion in the parade. In 1974, my horse ‘Forest Fire’ was awarded the

National Australian Stock Horse Champion judged on a points system, and was presented at the

Rockhampton Show.

Trotting was a major feature of the show, and we all had to clear the ring when the trotters came in.

Trotting owners came from the local area as well as visiting teams who followed the show circuit.

When I retired from the showring in 1986, I had a different perspective of the Show, being a

spectator and not a competitor. I saw how important a Grand Parade was, and how a good

announcer kept you informed who was competing in the Showjumping. I competed in the cake

section and found all these wonderful ladies who had been running that section for many years. I

had time to look around all the pavilions and marvel at all they offered.

The car sales yards brought new cars to the show, hoping to get sales from the general public. That

all stopped for a long time, but a lot of the ‘old’ is now ‘new’ again, with the Commercial Cattle

making a grand reappearance in 2019 after an absence of nearly 15 years.

I started assisting in the Horse Ring and did some judging as well, again giving me a different

perspective. I started to appreciate what volunteers did for us when we were young. This led me

to be Ringmaster one year which I really enjoyed. When the Rockhampton Regional Council took

back the running of the Show in 2019, I was appointed Ringmaster which I also did in 2021. It is a

huge job made easier by all our wonderful volunteers. My main job is to make sure it all runs to

time right up to when the first bang of fireworks sounds, not pleasant for all the animals, but the

public love it.

We wouldn’t be able to run the Show without all our over 100 Volunteers. We thank and salute you

all. Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2022 Rockhampton Agricultural Show.

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