10 May 2023

Public holiday will boost Fridays at Laura: secretary

| Sarah Martin
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BACKED by a new rodeo association with a conduit straight to the national finals, an official public holiday and a new local partner, the Laura Rodeo and Campdraft Association are off to a flying start in 2023.

Association secretary Debbie
Gostelow, who grew up in the Cape on Yarraden Station, said the biggest change this year was affiliation with the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association, which had already brought positive results.

“ABCRA is a very professional group, very helpful and we’ve noticed a massive increase in people interested in the professional positions on the day and people wanting to compete to get points towards (the ABCRA national finals in Tamworth),” Ms Gostelow said.

Ms Gostelow has been volunteering at Laura all her life and says she has never missed a single event.

“I’ve been involved forever, I was helping out when I was at high school, and we’ve never missed a rodeo since we were kids,” she said.

“I can remember back when mum (Mary Shephard) and everyone were making sandwiches on Saturday night for the rodeo on Sunday, we’d all be peeling eggs, then race up to the dance until midnight, then run around the next day at the rodeo all day.

“As time went on mum was the secretary, then I took over from mum.”

Although the secretary role was becoming more of a full-time undertaking, Ms Gostelow said the Association was fortunate to have a great group of volunteers.

“It’s gone from a volunteer role that you do some parts of the year to a full-time job, I do not stop sending emails, answering questions, sending sponsor forms,” she said.

“But we’ve got a really big team, lots of family and friends and we usually have a pretty good roll-up at our working bees.”

The next working bee is on the May long weekend at the Laura Rodeo grounds, with all interested helpers encouraged to attend.

“Everyone is welcome, just bring your camping gear and food and anything you can help with,” she said.

“We will be doing a general clean up, some building and getting ready for the event.”

The Laura Races, Rodeo and Campdraft is held annually in June, and this year Cook Shire Council has allocated their annual Shire-wide public holiday to the event.

“It’s going to make a big difference, especially for those people being able to attend our campdraft on Friday,” Ms Gostelow said.

“It’s wonderful Cook Shire Council are recognising Laura as such a big event.”

Each year the rodeo raises funds for various charities, with thousands of dollars from last year’s event going towards runway lighting for Royal Flying Doctor airstrips across the Cape.

This year’s beneficiary is a charity close to Ms Gostelow and many rodeo-goers hearts, Talk About It Tuesday, started by Cape women Jackie Perry and Debbie Jackson, who both lost sons to suicide.

“We couldn’t get a better charity, Jackie and Debbie and I all grew up together, had kids together and our kids all went to school together,” Ms Gostelow said.

“They’re very excited about getting involved and we’re excited about supporting a really important group with a very important message to put out there; we’ve already got some good prizes and raffles on offer.”

Entry tickets and competitor nominations will be advertised in advance, with tickets on sale in about May and online nominations opening in mid-June.

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