THIS weekend more than 860 school children and 450 head of cattle will be in town for the 14th Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza.
Doug Robertson, president of the Bonanza said it may be the largest led cattle show in the country.
“It’s certainly bigger than Sydney and while Brisbane has more cattle, we think we might be the largest in terms of led cattle,” said Mr Robertson.
“The Bonanza is aimed at educating children about the beef industry and encouraging more young people to consider agriculture for a career,” he said.
“It caters for all the kids from beginners right through and they don’t have to qualify to come, they can just have a go and get involved.
“There’s a lot of kids from schools that aren’t even in a rural area, or local kids who are not necessarily from a farming family and it gives them all a taste of agriculture.
“It’s about teaching the kids that haven’t had a lot of exposure to the industry and the schools find that really valuable,” he said.
“And the cost is a factor, because they can all camp down here for free it means more kids can come, whereas other shows like Sydney are pretty cost prohibitive now,” Doug Robertson said.
Organisers expected the numbers could be down this year due to the drought, but there has been a slight increase.
“I think a lot of the schools locked their cattle in and committed to the event,” said Mr Robertson.
“The cattle are in great condition so it’s not just the size of the show but also the quality of the cattle, they really are top prime cattle that are equal to anywhere in the country,” he said.
Locals are encouraged to go to the Beef Bonanza, entry is free and proceeds from the canteen go back into the Bonanza.
“It’s a good opportunity to get off the farm for the day,” he said.
“Come and forget about the skinny ones you have at home and see some top prime cattle,” Doug Robertson said.
The Bonanza begins on Friday, with judging beginning at 8am, with workshops and education throughout the day.
At 6:30pm there will be a careers evening for the Year 10 and 11 students with people from TOCAL, UNE in Armidale and individuals from various career paths in agriculture.
On Saturday and Sunday judging begins at 8am and on Saturday evening there will be interactive education at the saleyards.
Watch video of last year’s Beef Bonanza: