The spirit and the numbers were no doubt lifted by the weather — warm but not too hot, and much better than the rain last year.
Erin Hatley, who was with her two young children, Ava and Arlo, said the kids loved the emergency services area where there was a demonstration of dismantling a truck.
«That occupied them for about two hours, just climbing over an ambulance,» she said. They also liked the area for petting animals.
One farmer thought the show remained good, but felt the agricultural side of it was diminished compared with five or 10 years ago.
James Scott won the champion ewe section with «334 of 18» (they don’t give sheep names).
«We like the show. It’s great,» he said.
But he added that it was losing its agricultural feel. It was hard to say why, perhaps because Canberra was growing into a city like other big metropolitan areas and less like the Bush Capital.
There was entertainment of a vaguely agricultural nature, like pig racing.
Pig racer, Kevin Kiley (who describes himself as a pig whisperer) said the secret was the milk as an inducement to get the animals to chase around the track, hurtling through barrels.
«It’s all done with a bit of milk,» said Mr Kiley beside the track which makes up his enterprise, Noah’s Thoroughbred Racing Pigs.
«They know they’ve got to go through the obstacles to get to the milk.
«But it doesn’t matter how fast they are. It’s the smartest that wins.»
That’s because he moves the milk unpredictably so the piglets don’t quite know where the end is.
«They’ve got to find the finishing line,» he said.
He said pigs were very, very smart. He sets up a course at home when they are born and they pick up what’s expected within the first day of their lives.
Doing it in front of a crowd took some getting used to — but they learn fast.
Steve Evans is a reporter for The Canberra Times.