10 May 2023

Capacity crowd expected for Laura's big return

| Matt Nicholls
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AFTER three long years of gathering dust, the Laura rodeo grounds will roar back to life this weekend, with a capacity crowd of 3000 expected to flock to the major event.

“We might have missed the last couple of years due to COVID but the work hasn’t stopped,” Laura Rodeo and Campdraft Association secretary Debbie Gostelow said.

“The longer you go without an event, the harder it is to come back as the amount of paperwork gets bigger each year.

“It’s almost a full-time job to put on an event of this scale in a town with almost no facilities – but we are all volunteers.”

What makes the Laura event special is that it combines two clubs for four events over three massive days.

“We organise the rodeo and the campdraft, while the race club does the race meeting and the horse sports,” Ms Gostelow said.

“From sunrise on Friday to the end of Sunday there will be non-stop action at the grounds.

“This year the club has aligned with the Central Rodeo Cowboys Association for nominations and insurance for participants in the arena events.”

Camping is free and included in the ticket prices. Three-day passes were $80, although they stopped selling on the weekend.

“We can only have 3000 people at any given event and we’ve gone close to selling that many wrist bands,” Ms Gostelow said.

“There will be tickets on sale at the gates on the day, but if we hit capacity we will turn people away.

“We ask patrons to bring cash as the ATM will be under pressure all weekend.”

Following the tragic death of Holly Brown in 2015, the Laura weekend has become one of the safest events in the Far North.

“We will have paramedics from QAS on the grounds all weekend, which is a real positive,” the long-serving secretary said.

“We ask everyone to be responsible and to look out for their mates while at Laura.

“I think people come to Laura once a year and see the great event we put on but when the rodeo isn’t on Laura is just a very small town with not a lot of resources.

“Everything you see at the event has been brought in specifically.”

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