A Warwick volunteer's unwavering passion
DESPITE being in Warwick for more than 30 years, John Wilson describes himself as a wanderer.
The show committee chairman said it was after meeting his wife and finding a passion for volunteering that he couldn't stay away from one of the Rose City's most iconic events.
"I had been all over Queensland - Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Caloundra - before I came to Warwick in 1986 to work for Skinner's Coaches,” Mr Wilson said.
"That's where I met my wife Christine, she was working in the office there and I thought it was a good reason to stay.
"I've since started working for Crisps Coaches - that's what I do when I'm not here at the showgrounds.
"So while Warwick is a great place to be and to raise kids, that still lets me get my travel fix.”
Mr Wilson said his love of volunteering had solidified over three decades in the Rose City.
"When I started dating Chris, her father, who also volunteered for the show society a lot, said to me 'you will volunteer here',” he said.
"So my first event would have been Rodeo '86 working at the Matt Geraghty Bar and I've been volunteering around the grounds ever since.”
Though not a rider himself, Mr Wilson said his two daughters - Sarah, 22, and Brooke, 17 - had grown up riding in pony club and shows around the state.
"Both our girls were riding from about the time they could walk,” he said.
"They both rode with pony club and interschool, and for about seven years our yearly holiday would be a six-week break over the July holidays where they competed in every show from Mossman to Mackay.
"Because I'm not a rider I found I was much better use doing other things, so I started volunteering with pony club as well and worked my way up.
"Now I'm a national steward for dressage with Equestrian Queensland and I actually won the volunteer of the year for Dressage Queensland and was shortlisted for volunteer of the year for Equestrian Queensland.
"I think for my girls as well, it's something that has grown in to a lifelong passion, which is the case for so many of the sections of the show.
"No matter what section you're involved in, the passion is incredible.”
Mr Wilson was appointed as show chairman between 2001 and 2009, even serving as show and rodeo society president for in 2008 and 2009, before taking a step back for the management committee.
Though he kept volunteering in the meantime, he returned as chairman in 2013.
Mr Wilson said he owed a lot of thanks to the committee and volunteers for helping to grow the Warwick Show over recent years.
"I'm always amazed at the way the community and local businesses get behind us to support these events as well,” he said.
"But we absolutely could not do what we do here without our volunteers.
"We all have different responsibilities in getting ready for the show and everyone just gets stuck in as best they can.
"I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved here on the grounds year after year, particularly with finances the way they are at the moment, and the fact we've managed to continue to grow the way we have.
"That's where I'm incredibly lucky - the enthusiasm our volunteers have is incredible and I just need to support them however I can to get the job done.
"It's what makes this place so special.”
More on what's to come for the 150th Warwick Show on page 8.