BEING on the road for nine months of the year may not appeal to most, but Jye Watkins wouldn’t have it any other way.
Born and bred on the show circuit, the 20-year-old says he loves the lifestyle and being surrounded by his family.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Mr Watkins said yesterday, while taking time out from constructing rides at the Tamworth Showground.
“I went and worked in the mines a few years back but I didn’t enjoy it, and when dad asked me to give him a hand, I came back.”
Mr Watkins and his family are fourth-generation amusement park providers.
His great-grandfather, Dick, 92, first appeared on the show circuit back in 1945 when he created the now infamous “Tin Can Alley” game.
With showbusiness running in his veins, it wasn’t long before Dick passed his passion onto his four children, and they in turn to their 12 grandchildren who have now become part of this unique industry.
The Watkins arrived in town at the start of the week and are putting the finishing touches on the rides, some of which take two days to complete.
Mr Watkins, who along with his three younger siblings, were either home-schooled or educated by the travelling show school bus, estimated the family did about 70 shows a year. But he said it was just like any other job.
“I get a day off here and there, which is good,” he said.
“In the lead-up to the Sydney Royal Easter Show we’ll be flat out.”
Over Christmas, the family takes a well-earned break, spending three months at Phillip Island.
Today at the Tamworth Show
9am: Junior judging – cattle, fleece, sheep, pigs
9am: Horses – main arena
9am: Kids’ Corner opens
10am: Children’s entertainment to start – tote area
Noah’s Ark animal farmyard
Comedy pig races
11am: Weighing of steers and heifers
Noon: Some rides start
1pm: Paraders – F002 final paraders
2.30pm: Open paraders
4pm: Led steers
Sideshows start operating
5pm: Zoetis heifer show
5.30pm: FMX KAOS International Freestyle Motorcycle Team
6pm: Rodeo starts – Indoor arena
6pm: Other rides start
6pm: Monster rides only
7pm: FMX KAOS International Freestyle Motorcycle Team
11pm: Show closes