Four wheel drive. Photo: Eoin Murphy

Four wheel drive. Photo: Eoin Murphy

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Mud, mud and more mud – and it ain’t the Mississippi Pie-type I’m referring to.

For the first time in an age, much to the disappointment of organisers, those pushing buggies and anyone in white footwear, it rained at the 182nd Iverk Show last Thursday. And it rained a lot.

A midday clap of thunder over Waterford city provided me with a meteorological harbinger of doom before undertaking my latest ‘on location’ assignment at Ireland’s oldest agricultural show.

Luckily, given the mucky grooves that awaited, I came prepared. For this was to be the day that Carrick-on-Suir Rugby Club made its competitive debut in a Barony favourite – the tug of war.

With worn jeans, thick socks and football boots in tow, I donned my mudbusting garb and made for the main event.

The training for the ‘TOW’ had been intensive – that is, if pulling a clothes line taught against the garden wall while wearing a few layers of heavy clothing can be described as such.

Alas, all that good work was undone by the proverbial canines and felines that fell onto the straw-laded Piltown Showgrounds.

Monies laid down between punters on the competition’s champion team were returned as palms were wiped clean and bets rescinded.

As the grooves deepened and the ground softened, the show’s still large attendance had to contend with the sort of weather one readily associates with the National Ploughing Championship.

Incidentally, this year’s ploughing match will be held just up the road in Cuffesgrange between September 23rd and 25th so don’t go mothballing the wet gear yet!

The 2008 show featured all the traditional Iverk staples. There was the indomitable Pilot Conway manning the public address, interspersing official declarations with comments including: “Mary, you’re looking well in your coloured wellies.”

There was Mister Speedypeeler, once again doing his speedypelling thing, but not stripped to his waist like he was last year, on what had probably been the best day of that whole summer.

There were the usual fairground attractions, including the ‘Spill the Milk’ game, where a cuddly toy awaited anyone who could topple three bottles. Can’t say I spotted too many quota holders having a go at this particular game!

As helicopters took off from the GAA pitch, just yards from the archery area, dairy judge Jenny Grey was offering a commentary on the quality of udder on display in Ring Number One. So, despite the inclemency of the day, this was still a show with a lot going on.

Be it marble memorials to Joe Dolan in the trade tent, decoupage works in the art tent or the gleaming vintage Masseys, David Browns and Nuffields on display, the Iverk Show ticked every curiosity box once more.

Plans are already being made for the 183rd show, for this event’s committee wastes little time in planning ahead in their efforts to make the Iverk Show bigger and better every single year.

And as for the tug of war? Next September can’t come quickly enough!