The 125th Tallangatta Show received record entries from contestants who have been unable to compete during the pandemic.
North East and Border Axemen's Association member Ben Gigliotti of Bullioh said Saturday's competition was their second since the pandemic had begun - their first was only three weeks ago at Wangaratta.
"There will be Tallangatta and Mitta this weekend, and there will be one more at Koetong next month," he said.
"A lot of shows have cancelled for the year, and we didn't have the Sydney or Melbourne shows last year.
"They're starting to get a few going in NSW and Queensland.
"So lots of people are coming out - we've had a few from Canberra."
Mr Gigliotti said 27 competitors at Tallangatta was larger than usual.
"We've got three of the world's best here in Lawrence O'Toole, Glen Dillan and Brayden Myer," he said.
"This is the first time they've been together here.
"They're in the Chopperoos team for Australia and this year they've done the Australian series virtually."
There were also record entries to show jumping and the dog show.
In his more than 10 years as show president, Mr Lees said organising the 2021 event had taken the most work with COVID-19 check-ins, hand sanitiser, and crowd dividers being among extra measures.
"We're limited to 1000 spectators, which doesn't include workers or participants," he said.
"We're happy with that. If we get 1000 at one time, that's a good year.
"We had some trouble getting a few judges as there were judges in NSW who didn't want to risk the travel, but we found replacements.
The snap COVID-19 lockdown did concern Mr Lees and his committee.
The 2020 show did go ahead, with the first Australian lockdowns being announced by the Prime Minister the following weekend.
"We were worried a little bit then (two weeks ago), but we were very determined we were going to have it," he said.
"When you have a crowd like the one that we have here today, it makes it all worthwhile.
"I don't think anybody realised what was going to happen when we had the show last year, it was just after that everything happened.
"Now everyone's wanting to get out."
The Tallangatta Agricultural and Pastoral Society has recently received a $50,000 bushfire recovery grant, allowing them to install solar panels on its pavilion roof.
That has so far accumulated a $600 credit.
It's been an exceptional 12 months for Wal Wood's cattle, but it's been an even better year for his pumpkins.
The Georges Creek farmer grew the heaviest vegetable at the Tallangatta Show, weighing in at 186 kilograms.
"This is actually only the fourth-biggest I've grown - it's 50 kilograms lighter than the one from two years ago," Mr Wood said.
"Because it's been a really wet, humid year, they grew well but some rotted.
"This one will be going to the cattle."
It took six blokes and a blanket to cart the massive root vegetable into the Showground pavilion.
Mr Wood said he was far from a dedicated competitor.
"I do it for the kids and their reactions, they love getting their photos taken," he said
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.