And they’re off! Outback events at the starting line

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Jundah Races for grey nomads
The Jundah Races are locked in for September. PIC: Jundah Race Club / Facebook

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the schedule of Outback events that are so beloved of many grey nomads.

Along with a swathe of agricultural shows, iconic gatherings such as the Birdsville Races and the Mount Isa Rodeo were shelved for 2020. Even as travellers start to get back on the road, albeit largely within their own state, there has understandably been a dearth of organised entertainment options.

However, in a sign that there might just be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease, some places have started to lock in dates for their activities

The ABC reports that, in north-west Queensland, the cattle station-based Yelvertoft and Saxby campdrafts have decided to merge their events for a reduced program in Julia Creek in August.

Further south, the Jundah Race Club is holding an event in September and the Longreach Rodeo is pencilled in for October.

Yelvertoft campdraft president Marcus Curr said he was still unsure of the specific regulations the event was facing, but was confident it could be safely run with seated crowds.

“It’s going to be a bit harder to control because people camp there together all weekend, but it can definitely be regulated,” he told the ABC.

Australian Campdraft Association president Hugh Philp said campdraft associations would be more than able to run socially distanced outdoor events without too much hassle.

“We want to be involved in helping our committees get going,” he told the ABC. “We’ve been looking at [the Northern Territory], they have started up and only residents in the Northern Territory can attend their events.”

A few country horseracing meets have already gone ahead without spectators, but Jundah is aiming to open its races to the public, even if there is still a 100-person cap on crowds.

“We’re still taking it day-by-day, but we’re hoping that it will at least have a bit bigger of a crowd,” Jundah Race Club president, Dan Pitman, told the ABC. “Because we only race once a year, if you leave it two years your facilities fall down.”

Mr Pitman said he was optimistic.

“Everyone is keen, we’ve had heaps of enquiries about it,” he said.

  • Are you ready to get back out to festivals, races and shows in the bush … or are you still cautious? Comment below.
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One Response to And they’re off! Outback events at the starting line

  1. Go the Bush race meetings, Rodeos n Campdrafts…
    Real Australiana out there..!

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