The Kempsey Show really was the place to be seen in 2018.
The event was abuzz last night with the opening ceremony, 50th anniversary Showgirl celebrations and a large crowd of revellers taking it all in and enjoying the rides and stalls.
Kempsey Shire Council general manager Craig Milburn and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey were on hand to perform their official duties and declare the show open.
Then, in what proved to be quite the spectacle, showgirls from the past 50 years entered the main ring in the back of utes provided by the Kempsey Car Club and 2017 Showgirl Merinda Kyle rode in on horseback draped in the Australian flag to sing the national anthem.
Merinda was accompanied by another young horseman who proudly flew the Aboriginal flag.
This was followed by the announcement of the 2018 Showgirl winners across the three age categories.
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said she was amazed by the commitment of the volunteers who organised the show.
“To bring the Showgirls back for the 50th anniversary and involve the Kempsey Car Club, and the horses and their riders was incredible,” she said.
“To see these kids – it’s just so healthy.
“So many of the girls that did well in the Showgirl competition are all horse riders.
“It just shows the depth and the tradition in this valley.
“Whether you’re a Clarke, a Saul, or a Lee, there’s lots of family connections and to see the show back and strong is really good.
“I’ve loved the show circuit – I had Wauchope on the weekend, Kempsey today, and Macksville this weekend.
“I just want to give a shoutout to all of the agricultural teachers – teaching kids about cattle and showing the cattle, and developing their love of agriculture, and inspiring them to go on to become our next world class farmers.”
General manager Craig Milburn, who is no stranger to agricultural shows having grown up in Burnie, said the opening was absolutely fantastic.
“It’s great to see so many people here and the entrants in all of the showgirl categories, as well as all of the former showgirls, and the community out here,” he said.
“I’m really pleased to be part of it.”
Mr Milburn said his family was settling into Kempsey life really well.
“The welcome we’ve received from the community has been absolutely amazing,” he said.
“Everyone’s been really friendly.
“I’m slowly getting around and meeting people, and getting out to see different places.
“We went to the markets last weekend, which was great.
“We’re starting to settle in, but we still have a way to go and a lot to learn.”