By Jeremy Sollars
The Killarney Show and Rodeo Society says it has regretfully been forced to cancel the 2019 Killarney Rodeo which had been scheduled for Saturday 10 August for financial reasons, largely related to the drought.
Society president Jan Hamilton told the Free Times most of the rodeo’s major sponsors were rural-based businesses and were feeling the economic effects of the ongoing dry.
Jan said the Society required around $14,000 in sponsorship to run the rodeo – which has traditionally been an ‘all round’ rodeo including both roughstock events – bull and bronc riding – and ‘timed’ events such as barrel racing and roping.
“We really wanted to run a full rodeo program and we decided that rather than muck around and reduce the number of events it would be a better decision to cancel, which is disheartening but that’s the reality of the situation,” Jan said.
“There would still have been a lot of work for our volunteers even with a smaller program, and those volunteers are working on a range of projects at the Killarney Showgrounds at the present time and there’s only so much they can do.
“The decision to cancel the 2019 Rodeo is primarily a financial one – it costs a considerable amount of money to run an event like this, by the time you factor in the cost of prize money, stock, protection bullfighters, timekeepers, judges, insurance and everything else.
“We tried for sponsors as far afield as Toowoomba and Stanthorpe and unfortunately we couldn’t secure the sponsorship we required.
“We didn’t get the sponsorship we needed last year and we ended up making only a very minimal profit, which just isn’t realistic.
“Businesses based around the rural sector are getting hit and obviously their ability to come up with sponsorship money is going to be limited at a time like this.”
Jan said the Killarney Show and Rodeo Society’s dedicated band of local volunteers have been hard at work undertaking a range of upgrade projects at the Killarney Showgrounds, including long-needed repairs to infrastructure largely due to flood and white ant damage over the years.
She said the work has included upgrading underground water pipes and power supplies and moving and painting various buildings at the Showgrounds.
“We also have a number of major events coming up between now and the end of the year which we need to prepare for,” Jan said.
“We have a big cycling group coming through the area and a road motorbike rally which will finish at the Showgrounds and also a big horse trials event coming up which will use the Showgrounds as a base.
“The people who participate in those kinds of events come and pay per head for catering and so on and so we receive some valuable income.
“Obviously we’re hopeful that 2020 will hopefully see a better season and we’ll be able to run the rodeo again next year.”
• Can you help rescue the 2019 Killarney Rodeo? Call Jan Hamilton on 4666 4111.