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Updated: Apr 24

On May 3, 2024 the gates open for the 123rd annual Narrabri Show which attracts a wide range of competitors to showcase the region in all its diversity under the theme of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Estimates of around five thousand people will pass through the gates this year. Some will be there for the rodeo on the opening night or keen to check out the arts & crafts, home produce, livestock, Showgirl / Young woman events or just connect with community. The highly anticipated Mullet challenge, a competition where young men get to show off their mullet hairstyles, makes its debut at this years show in an alliance with the Black Dog Institute for mental health.

At 35 years of age Show vice-president Bec Cope will be honoured as a life-member at the opening ceremony, the youngest in the Show’s history.

“If it wasn’t for Bec my job as President would be very, very difficult and the show would not be as successful as what it will be. She’s a very hard working girl” says Ian Schweitzer.

Bec has been rewarded with great experience and opportunities courtesy of her decade long involvement with the Narrabri Show that began when she entered her artwork when she was still at school. At the end of her school years she became Showgirl, which is now known as Young Woman. That led to her being a state finalist at Sydney Royal in 2013 and awarded Rural Achiever in 2017.

Both Young Woman and Rural Achiever seek to find ambassadors for rural country shows and communities to harness and nurture those individuals to become future leaders of industry.

“Competing gave me more confidence. I got to hone my interpersonal skills, general public skills and interviewing skills and all those kinds of attributes that you use in your everyday life in your professional career” says Bec.

Samantha Coppin was a State finalist in last year’s Young Woman and now a Show committee member. “You are looking for someone who is part of your region who has experience in agriculture, has experience with community involvement. Not just someone who has grown up in the town but someone who wants to give back as well. A lot of the girls in the program volunteer in some respect.”

Amongst the entrants this year are young women who volunteer at Park Run, a girl who brings her horse into nursing homes and girls who volunteer at Shared Table.

“It’s sort of about finding someone who wants to advocate for your town, wants to promote things in your town and bring up community involvement and awareness” Samantha says.

The popular Young Judges program is about teaching young men and women how to judge crops like grains, fruit and veg, a fleece, a sheep, a cow.

“All those skills are then transferred to later on in life where they might become a stock and station agent or they may go and work for the AWN Board. We are trying to do that sort of succession planning, the same as Young Woman. They are all relevant life skills for kids that are passionate about agriculture” says Bec.

Whilst acknowledging the long history of the show Bec adds “We have to adapt and change to make sure we are bringing entertainment and other amusements to attract as many diverse show patrons and audience as we can, whilst not losing sight of where we’ve come from.”

“Agriculture and Ag shows need to be preserved because they are the lifeblood of our rural communities. We are looking for a harmony between the past and the future so we can move forward.”

Keeping the costs reasonable for families is a priority for the Show’s organising committee.

“We haven’t changed our gate pricing at all in nearly ten years. The only pricing change we’ve made was to include an admin fee with online ticketing” says Bec.

President Ian Schweitzer adds “once you get into the Showground, other than the sideshows, there is no admission for anything. The rodeo on Friday night is free, the dog high jump, face painting and stuff like that.”

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Published 23 April 2024

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