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Family traditions hold strong at Rochester Show

By Anna McGuinness

With Rochester’s Great Northern Show entering its 134th year, it is no wonder there are deep seated family traditions within its gates.

As is the case for fourth generation agricultural show exhibitor Kim Mitchell.

“I’ve grown up being involved with the show society, I was on the committee for a number of years and my mum’s still heavily involved,” she said.

Luckily, with so many different categories, they don’t have to worry about rivalry, but Kim enjoys getting along to see the beef cattle, where she once competed.

Another highlight is the photography section, which Kim sometimes enters; however, she’s yet to confirm if we’ll see any of her snaps on display — as she said, “if I get myself organised… yes”.

Her main priority, however, is the dairy competition, where she and husband Brent put their best Holsteins on show.

“I started off in the homecrafts, then the beef section and then I married a dairy farmer,” she said.

They have had some success before, winning the champion Holstein cow at the show a few years ago.

The cows are judged on their structural soundness and there is a bit of preparation in the lead-up to competition to get them in star form.

“It takes a bit of time to get the animals right beforehand and get them looking their best for the show; you need to get their feed right so they’re in good condition and also break them in and teach them to lead so you can parade them around,” she said.

After a successful International Dairy Week showing in January, where the four cows the Mitchells entered all placed in the top 10, they are ready to back it up at the show.

This year Kim’s excited to bring the next generation along for the ride, with her nieces becoming interested in showing and giving their aunt a hand.

“We’ve got to try and keep it going for the next generation to have this sort of thing available for them to do,” Kim said.

“There is a lot of young people out there who are interested but the older generation have trouble finding the time to do it.”

Things were a bit different when Kim was growing up — all Saturday sport would have a bye on the day of the show so everyone could go, and those good memories are part of why she still gets involved.

“I’ve grown up with the show so I think it’s fun and important to keep going, but some people haven’t,” she said.

Kim is looking forward to getting in the ring next weekend and seeing how her cows stack up against the rest.

“It’s a really good local country show, we get to catch up with friends and usually plenty of exhibitors come so there’s competition for your animals, which makes it more worthwhile taking them.”

The livestock judging will take place on Saturday, February 22 at Rochester Recreation Reserve.