Next year, 2020, will be the 40th anniversary of the first running of the Nimmity Bell Show Jumping Point Score Trophy.
In its 39th incarnation this year, the trophy is awarded to the rider with the highest aggregate of show jumping points over the Nimmitabel, Dalgety, Cooma and Bombala Shows.
As winning rider Lane Clarke from Bega accepted the Nimmity Bell from Nimmitabel Show Society representative Michael Green, he little realised the 'grail' like mystery surrounding the trophy's origins.
It is the story of daring and secrecy worthy of the best fiction writers. It goes like this...
Once upon a time Nimmitabel had a train service, but when that service was shut down, one well-known local resident, Jack Williams decided to 'appropriate' the station bell.
Apparently, keen to see that it came to no harm, or become lost in the bowels of NSW government archives maybe, Jack's response to those who warned him of possible peril, was simple.
"When they give us back our trains," he responded, "we'll give 'em back the bell."
At Jack's suggestion, said bell was duly adopted as the trophy for a show jumping competition linking the four main Monaro shows and awarded at the last show of the season - Bombala.
That being the case, since the time of its 'appropriation' the bell has been kept at a secret location in Bombala until, that is, the 2019 show, held recently.
Representing the Nimmitabel Show Society and the Nimmitabel community more broadly, Michael Green attended Bombala and had the honour of presenting the trophy to Lane Clarke.
He felt that in anticipation of the 40 year anniversary of the bell's 'disappearance', it is time to put things in order.
"Next year, it'll be 40 years since the 'incident of the bell," he smiled.
"And we think that we should be pretty right under the statute of limitations to bring the old girl out into the open.
"We thank the folk of the Bombala Show Society for being her custodians and looking after her so well over all those years, but the time is right to take her home."
Cast at a foundry in Switzerland, how the bell came to be at Nimmitabel is a mystery in the first place, but one that one that will be researched in the not too distant future according to Michael.
"We're pretty sure that there was a Swiss family living around the place some decades ago, so that could be a useful starting point. We'll just have to see where it takes us," he said.
There was a lot going on at the 2019 Bombala Show with sheep, cattle and poultry judging, a full program of horse event over four arenas, a pavilion stacked with exhibits from pickles to painting to pumpkins.
The overall mood was buoyant with the expectation of much needed rain in the days following it and the feeling that the Bombala Show - as always - was a fitting end to the south-east show season.