Winners and grinners at Mingenew Midwest Expo
Drones, a coffee van, transportable sheep yards and a $10,000 metal detector caught the eye of those selecting the exhibitor awards at the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo.
The exhibitor awards recognised the most impressive site displays judged by Mullewa Agricultural Society members.
The independent judges were on the hunt for the best in seven different categories: rural industry, technology, education or information, home and living retail, commercial, machinery, and livestock.
The Expo board presented the awards on Thursday morning — inciting squeals, handshakes and fist pumps from winning exhibitors, who took home both bragging rights and a wooden plaque engraved with their winning category and year.
It was the third win in a row for Bankwest and AFGRI Equipment, which took out the best retail commercial display and best machinery display respectively.
Bankwest’s display, had balloons, free pens and a spinning wheel to win chocolate and was bolstered by the appearance of retired West Coast Eagles forward Mark LeCras.
He took to the main stage to cook up a feast on Wednesday, cooking barramundi with Mingenew farmer Fiona Cosgrove and Watheroo farmer Brad Millsteed for the Paddock to Plate segment.
He also held a handball competition with his former teammate Josh Kennedy — and dozens of thrilled parents and children — after Kennedy was brought to Expo as an ambassador for men’s mental health initiative Checkmate.
Bankwest business development executive for rural and regional banking in WA Brendon Kay said the team was delighted to win the award.
“We’re really proud to be supporting Expo, which is such an important community event,” he said.
“And it’s the icing on the cake to win the exhibitor award for the third year running.
“A big thank you to all involved, and a special mention to Mark LeCras, who did a great job with the handball competitions.”
AFGRI Equipment sales consultant Derek Thill, whose company won best machinery display, said the company had showcased more than 15 pieces of equipment this year with about a dozen staff.
“We are pretty passionate about supporting field days ... we sell a lot of gear here so we want to celebrate an event that is a valuable part of the community as well,” he said.
New products were a big focus at the Landmark tent, which took out best rural industry display.
Landmark Mingenew manager Anthony Smyth said the organisation wanted to connect with customers at Expo.
The company’s Wednesday-night sundowner attracted about 100 people to its tent.
“We wanted to offer people something, to thank them for their patronage and being good clients,” Mr Smyth said.
“We were trying to show our wares, and all of the activities we are involved in — real estate, merchandise, insurance, agronomy, livestock and wool.”
It was a first-time exhibitor award win for Midland Stockyards owner Paul Dongray, who brought a large display of relocatable yards which took about 4.5 hours for three staff to set up.
“We call them our MSY1200 relocatable yards ... it is our premium range of relocatable, and can be made semi-permanent as well,” he said.
With the capacity to hold about 1200 sheep, and work about 650, the yards made the perfect catchment for the Midland Stockyards’ sponsored working dog competition.
“Sheep are very popular at the moment and people have money to reinvest ... we sold a couple of yards, which is a good result,” Mr Dongray said.
Massages, hair braiding and health checks proved a hit for Central Regional TAFE, which won top education or information display.
Central Regional TAFE communications and marketing manager Tracey Bone said “hands-on” activities were always a hit inside the home and living pavilion.
The TAFE brought seven students studying Certificate II in salon assistant as well as students studying a Diploma of Nursing.
Office National Geraldton owner Steeve Poligadu used Expo as a chance to promote his company’s recent takeover of Leading Edge Electronics.
The move paid off, earning him the award for the best technology display, with drones, computers, metal detectors and telescopes, ranging in price from from $199 to $10,000.
“We targeted our stall to farmers in particular by giving them the chance to see latest technology and ways to up surveillance on their farms,” Mr Poligadu said.
“We are in the middle of a gold rush so we also took seven metal detectors from Mine Lab.”
Free seed mix and yoghurt samples earned Perth-based Seeds n Stuff owner Kerri-Ann Garraway the award for best home and living retail display.
“This was my first time at Expo,” Ms Garraway said. “Everyone was so friendly and nice, and I just loved that the show was very relaxed.
“I have never won an award for my display before ... I just kept it very simple, with a few yoghurt taste testers.”
McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo board member Jarrad Spencer said it was hard to pick this year’s winners.
“Everyone has brought some pretty good displays, and a lot of people have spent a lot of money getting their gear here,” he said.
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