Showground caretaker calls it a day

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Keeping an eye out. . . Gore Showgrounds caretaker Bevin Roy and Sky are a familar sight about the showgrounds but after 14 years Mr Roy will retire from the role at the end of the month. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Showgrounds caretaker Bevin Roy has not always entered the Gore Showgrounds through its gates.

After 14 years in the role Mr Roy is due to retire and has been showing new caretaker Dawn Ross the ropes.

Mr Roy said his association with the showgrounds began when he was a child when his grandmother lived in the house where the Albion Rugby Club rooms are now.

On show day he and his cousins would wait for the gate keepers to look the other way and then would climb over the fence.

“It’s a bit ironic that I’m back on the other side of the fence.”

When he was 58 he was working on a farm and finding the winter aspects of the job hard going.

He did not really want to retire at 65 but knew if he did not find different work he would need to.

Now he was 72 it was time to retire and one activity he had planned was spending time caravaning with his wife.

The role had been very enjoyable, especially the contact with people.

“I spend more time here than I put on my timesheet.”

He had met many interesting people in his time there.

“There’s a little percentage of them who would be d…….. but 99% of the people are very good to deal with.”

Sometimes the job was a juggling act to cater for the different needs of people who used the showgrounds.

It might mean closing off one area of the showgrounds to one group knowing it was needed for another next week.

“To me every group that comes on to the grounds it’s their Olympic Games and they want the best.

“This week I am giving you the best I can and I’m planning for the next event.”

There were many funny stories he could tell.

One involved a “quite well-known local horsey person” who bought a new horse truck.

The woman was able to drive it well but the first time she brought it to the showgrounds, she got it stuck in what might have been the only wet spot.

He towed her out but since that incident she would ring to ask if he could cordon off an area for her to park.

“We’ve got this little thing going.

“I’ll look after you – you’ll be fine.”

A large proportion of the work was outside but there were also inside jobs which needed doing.

“It’s outdoors but I don’t have to go outside and move breaks if it’s dirty weather; there’s painting inside to do or repairs and maintenance.”

People using the showgrounds had increased during his watch.

There were more horse events held now and more motorhomes staying.

Prior to Covid-19 there were more international motorhome visitors.

“Since then [numbers] have been down but they’re all Kiwis and they just don’t stay one night – they’ll stay two, three, four nights which is good for the town.”