The 32 founding fathers of the Mitchell Show stand outside the local showgrounds at its inception in 1909.
Dressed in their full suits and ties, there’s a few noticeable changes to the committee as it now stands, but that same community spirit rings true.
This year they will celebrate 100 years of the Mitchell Show and the people that make it.
Patron, Robert Lethbridge has several family members in the original photograph and says while there were a few false starts, the first committee showed true dedication.
” I think it’s only because of these fellas and their forethought that they put into it,” he says pointing to the faces in the old photo.
“A lot of those ones were in the original meeting that was in 1895; and they never got it up and running until this very date.”
We could very well be celebrating an even greater anniversary of the show, but trials of the time; the great depression, drought and wars all weaved a different history.
“Things were that bad in the 1930’s that they just couldn’t have a show,” continues Robert.
“The timing was right in 1909; they wouldn’t have established it in the community for a long time after that.”
And its a good thing they did!
Looking back on 100 years and there’s certainly been many highlights.
For current Mitchell Show President, Steve Hancock some things never change.
“The show is really the backbone of the community, everyone meets up at the local show,” says Hancock.
“It’s probably not so much now as it was in earlier years when everything was done there like buying a new car or tractor but everyone still meets up there and has a good time.”
But as time changes, so to does the show adapt.
Now its all about entertainment and a chance to celebrate local produce.
The changing face of the showgrounds
In recent years they’ve seen a boon with new facilities such as the yards and shed.
This year they’ve even got a new lot of stockyards thanks to the help of the local work camp.
“I’d probably go so far as to say the show would not be going if it wasn’t for those correctional services guys,” says Steve.
“The new stockyards have been assembled by the work camp; they pulled down the old set, and worked on the project from start to finish.
“They do a lot of good in the community and we are very grateful to have them.”
Legacy of the Mitchell Show
As you listen to the history of the show, you can’t help but notice the same family names that run through.
For Robert Lethbridge, it’s very much about family tradition.
He says through the history of the show you can see the change in the demographics of town.
In the beginning the committee was made up wholly and soley of those with family ties but as industry changed, bank managers and teachers joined the mix.
“The Mitchell show hinges on the likes of us now,” he says.
“We need to keep contributing to it.”
He says the family ties need to continue to ensure that the tradition holds up for the next generation.