WHO said work can’t be fun.
It would be terrible if I didn’t have a sense of humour because in the livestock world there are not many people that don’t use sarcasm in a fun way against their friends.
In the Central West it’s no different to anywhere else. The people I meet mostly enjoy the banter.
I think it is a part of life with stock agents. The livestock guys and girls, as well as the stud stock teams, seem to have that knack of “downing” their mates with that sense of humour only Aussies enjoy and understand.
And I should apologise now to Landmark Dubbo’s sheep man Brad Wilson for those nasty things I’ve said in earshot behind his back these past 12 months. But I won’t. He wouldn’t expect it and he always comes back with a better snide remark anyway.
But then comments from my Trangie-based stock agent mate, Peter Cruickshank, that I should wear a hat at goat sales so people can spot the difference, run off just like water off a duck’s back.
As previous The Land general manager, Mike Harvey, even when I worked along side him back in the old NSW Country Life days (early 1970s), used to skite how much he loved work.
“Where else can you have a job you love, meet up with old friends, make new ones, take their photo, write a story – and get paid for the pleasure,” he used to say. And I’ve always followed suit and still love this job, even 52 years after starting as the office boy.”
I didn’t get around to as many local shows last year as I have done in the past, but we were also going through a pretty big “transition” phase within the company, which I must say has levelled out now and I’m sure our readers are enjoying a better read.
I’m sure we can change that this year as I know show societies do appreciate our coverage.
Destruction and devastation hit the communities of Dunedoo, Leadville, Uarbry, Cassilis and Coolah as the annual Dunedoo show was in progress last February and it was incredible the number of volunteers who came from everywhere and jumped in the help out people on their affected properties.
Some of my memorable trips away during January, February and March include the West Wyalong Merino Ewe Competition and it goes without saying, my near-annual trek to Condo for the Don Brown Memorial Maiden Merino ewe comp.
Everyone participating on those day trips are just fantastic, and the Don Brown crowd seem to love encouraging me to recite my old jokes, year after year on the bus returning to town (after a throat loosening cold gold).
My fairly regular attendance to the Dunedoo store cattle sale is a most pleasant experience as the crowd is welcoming and fun-loving too.
Especially the local show president, Shorthorn breeder and regular buyer or seller, Ronald Bowman, who doesn’t let anyone pass without prying a dollar or two for his side of lamb raffle, a fundraiser for his local church.
Even the local police constable got marked by Ronald at one sale he visited and coughed up a coin or two with a laugh.
Back in October, just before the Melbourne Cup there were many like me hoping for a win by local jockey hero Hugh Bowman. The Land’s Oxley caught hold of this raffle and believed I may of had more luck backing Hugh than winning his uncle’s raffle, but I lost in both sides.
Then it was off to Sydney Royal Show where I’ve become the Merino guru for some unknown reason.
Olympic Park was a fun place when I used to visit the area during its Homebush saleyards phase, but I must say I reckon I knew just about every inch of the old Moore Park ground. Possibly because I started selling Farmer and Settler newspapers there from the age of eight.
We weren’t wrapped up in cotton wool in those days, as is the way today it seems. We caught two buses (public transport) from home to Moore Park, knew every bus by it’s route number that would pass the showground.
The big national beef breed shows and sales are now held at Dubbo. These include the Poll Hereford, Shorthorn, Red Angus, Simmental and Charolais which run from the first week of June through to the end of July, followed by the Merino National show and sale in August.
In April or May, depending on the calendar, the NSW State Sheep Show is conducted at Dubbo showground as well, with upwards of 800 stud sheep alone, representing all the major breeds.
All-told, there would be close to 3000 sheep at Dubbo show when you add the stud, prime lamb show/sale, and shearing contests.
As luck would have it, I missed out in covering any of the Suncorp Bank/Agricultural Societies Council state dryland wheat competition zones this season. Therefore I missed all the wrong directions I would have received from the master coordinator, (Uncle) Tom Dwyer.
He used to chide me about getting lost and even presented me with a compass. The thing was, whether he set it up or not, that compass was about 15 degrees out. So what hope did I have.
After a good break over Christmas/New Year I return on January 8, and look forward to doing it all again in 2018 when I rekindle all of those wonderful friendships and also meet some new people, take their photo and write a story, while loving every minute.