Top spuds judged at annual competition

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Millichamp siblings April, 9, Alysia, 12, and Danny, 7, entered the Ashburton RSA spud in a bucket competition with high hopes of a bumper crop.

The humble spud took centre stage at the Ashburton RSA’s third annual spud in a bucket competition.

There were 90 entries vying for bragging rights across five categories; most potatoes, heaviest total weight, heaviest individual spud, best decorated potato bucket and ugliest potato.

Kelly-Rose Blackburn won best decorated with her ‘Chipp’ Awa fairy god mother dressed potato bucket.

The winners were Jacob Miles with 24 potatoes, Charlie Ellery with a crop weighing 1.3kg, Peter West with one spud weighing 833grams, Kelly-Rose Blackburn won best decorated with her ‘Chipp’ Awa fairy god mother dressed potato bucket and Wayne Tubb with a bulbous dumbell shaped potato.

Ashburton RSA president Merv Brenton said entrants paid $5 and got a Swift potato starter and it was up to the growers to tend to their spuds however they saw fit.

As with other years, it had been a popular fundraiser appealing to young and old members alike and it drew in the punters on the recent weigh-in day.

‘‘This is our third year of running it,’’ he said.

‘‘We started off with 60 entries, then 105 and this year we had 90 which was well above what we thought.’’

The RSA facilities were busy on weigh-in day ahead of the country’s move to Red with members socialising while official judges counted spuds, weighed and recorded the information and studied entries.

Ashburton RSA president Merv Brenton, at right, during the official spud in a bucket weigh-in.

Among those entered in the spud in a bucket competition were Millichamp siblings Alysia, 12, April, 9, and Danny, 7, who worked together – with a bit of help from their mother Annette, using fertiliser, water and a secret ingredient to help boost their potato’s growing potential.

Ahead of the official check, the Millichamp siblings bucket of spuds showed real promise with plenty of promise.

Ahead of the official check, their bucket of spuds showed real promise with plenty of healthy green leaf tops far outdoing those around it.

They were hopeful of around 10 potatoes but the official check saw just five potatoes growing beneath.

In other households there was a bit more stiff competition. Such as the husband and wife duo who left specific watering instructions for their housesitter while they were away on holiday to give equal volumes of water to each growing buckets.

The husband, who also decorated his bucket, eventually won with a heavier crop of 21 spuds.