Sideshow alley, campdraft liven up Show in GFC shadow


The Show Society is still crunching numbers but attendance was around 21,000 over the two day annual event – not bad for a town of 25,000.
New president Kevin Heintze, heading up a committee half of whose members were also new, says the biggest success in terms of participation and spectacle was the campdraft , running from noon on Thursday to Saturday night.
Competitors on horseback, mostly at full gallop, were driving cattle around a figure-eight course against the clock.
The event was organised by the Red Centre Campdraft and Rodeo Association, run by Mount Riddock pastoralist Rececca Cadzow, which also staged a rodeo on Friday night, drawing a crowd of about 1000.
The camp draft this year left no time nor arena space for the equally skilled bronco branding of previous years.
Mr Heintze says “up” were the ring events including the crowd-pleasing show jumping, and Riding for the Disabled was up a lot, with lots of spectators. Also up were cooking and preserves, and the craft section.
“Down” were the entries in the agriculture and birds sections. Photography was down and the exhibits were smaller.
Changes indoors were the amalgamation of displays by government departments, taking up less space this year.
Police, fire and emergency services had moved to a big outdoor display, leaving another gap in the Greatorex pavilion.
Some interstate colleges did not come this year, and neither did some regulars selling trinkets and other ware, blaming the Global Financial Crisis for their absence.
The outdoor trade displays, too, had fewer interstate firms. Local businesses were there in normal numbers but took up less display space.
The sideshow alley was as big as usual, with the showmen traveling as a group and “doing” the Territory circuit.
Mr Heintze says management of the show was not made easier when on the main day – Friday – Telstra mobile phone communication blacked out, the very way show officials relied on for keeping in touch. The show society computers ground to a halt for the same reason, depending on Telstra for their WiFi.
“Telstra told us they were having a slight problem with mobile phones in Alice Springs,” says Mr Heintze. “I’d like to know what it’s like when they have a major problem.”


  1. It was generally a great show, despite the chaos caused to many families and stallholders by the massive failure of the mobile phone system on the Friday, when crowds were at their largest.
    There was some fighting and feuding amongst young teenagers in the sideshow alleys, but the police did a great job as usual, and the show was notable for the almost total absence of drunks inside the grounds.
    The Show Committee should be congratulated for providing us with such a good and inclusive family-orientated community event. The committee sets an excellent example by its refusal to put profits before the wellbeing of the community, demonstrated by its continuing refusal to allow grog sales inside the show grounds.
    One area in which there could be an improvement would be to shift the helipad away from the main entrance gate, where many people stand in long lines waiting to buy entry tickets, and may be treated to more than one dust bath for their troubles. At least this year the mini-race track was not whipping up dust at the western end of the pavilions, where some of the best food stalls attempt to ply their trade.
    Local singer-songwriter Colin Lillie gave his usual strong, soulful, entertaining performance on the Saturday night at the closing ceremony for the show, despite the failure of somebody to supply a single light on the very rudimentary stage. Most of the audience in the stand simply could not see the singer in the dark, but they seemed to love what they heard from this indomitable Scotsman.
    Colin’s performance was followed by a magnificent fireworks display. Whoever was responsible for the design and execution of that fireworks display deserves high praise. I would say that it was easily the best that I have witnessed.


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