Cover yourself in glory with these tips from Show champions

By Zoe Vaughan

Over 30,000 competition entries were entered across 467 classes at last year’s Royal Adelaide Show, but have you ever wondered what sets apart the best entrants?

Even though the physical event has been cancelled due to COVID-19, the Royal Adelaide Show is running a virtual event, The Show @ Home, in its place.

The Show @ Home is revealing some of the attributes judges look for in a variety of categories to help prepare those interested in entering future competitions.

Did you know that the colour of olive oil depends on when the olives are harvested? If your olive oil has a greener colour, it is likely because the olives were picked earlier in the season.

There is more to judging eggs than just the yolk and shell. The chalaza attaches the yolk to the shell to keep it centred, and judges will look to see if it resembles a thick, white cord.

From reptiles to carrot cake, the Royal Adelaide Show has an event for everyone.

However, the competition is not just about winning.

Royal Show cat convenor Judith Russack first exhibited in the 1960s and now organises the event and manages the paperwork and prizes.

Ms Russack has been raising domestic cats since childhood and has been involved in breeding a variety of breeds including Siamese and Persian, Burmese, Cornish Rex, Somalis and Abyssinians.

Ms Russack said the Show is a good platform for not just competition, but also education.

“It’s important to educate the public on different varieties of cats, and also to promote good cat behaviour.”

Cookery co-convenor Joy Middleton began exhibiting her cake decorating in the 1980s, then was a steward during the 90s, and now organises the cookery events.

Ms Middleton said she enjoys seeing how innovative entrants are becoming, and the “enthusiasm they have for exhibiting”.

“[I enjoy] seeing people, especially the juniors, and the creativity in what they produce… seeing all these people lined up, and the joy on these people’s faces when the win.”

Model train engineer John Monteodorisio - a toolmaker and courier by trade - began competing around 15 years ago, after seeing his daughters enter the agriculture divisions.

Mr Monteodorisio said he enjoys hearing stories from people’s childhoods and seeing people get involved with the event.

“I really should start writing the stories down… one lady told me she saw the same model train she used to hitch rides on top of when she was younger,” he said.

“If I can get one out of 500,000 [who visit the Show] to get involved, then I’ve done my job.”

And their advice for those interested in getting involved or entering competition? Practice and preparation are key.

After registering your pedigree, Ms Russack recommends visiting local shows before entering the Royal Show, to best prepare your cat for competition and the noisy nature of the Showgrounds.

Ms Middleton said always use fresh ingredients, check your paperwork and make sure you meet the requirements of your event.

“Be comfortable with what you’re going to do, whether it be scones, muffins or cakes… if you always make sponge and they always turn out well, then do that.”

“Practice a few times before the Show… and read in the prize schedule all the boring bits, like specifications… double check everything.”

Mr Monteodorisio said the best way to begin is to not get ahead of yourself with big projects.

“If anyone is thinking of getting involved, I always say, don’t think about making a Flying Scotsman, start small and work your way up.”

“Build a Mini, not a Mercedes… because when your first project lights up and it takes you for a ride, you’ll get that sense of accomplishment, which I certainly still get today.”

Visit the Show @ Home’s Learn to Judge section to pick up some hints and tips to get your started on your entries for 2021 on The Show @ Home website.