HEART AND SOUL: Margaret McCosker and Terri Beaver have been serving volunteers and competitors at Margie's Tea House for many years.
HEART AND SOUL: Margaret McCosker and Terri Beaver have been serving volunteers and competitors at Margie's Tea House for many years. Sean Teuma

Dedicated to serving at rodeo

WITH more than 44 years of combined volunteer experience, it's fair to say this is neither Terri Beaver's nor Margaret McCosker's first rodeo.

Indeed it was a keen observation from Mrs Beaver that signalled her first involvement.

"My first volunteer experience came in 1989 when I was at the showgrounds,” she said.

"I saw Margaret Miller struggling.

"I had a few hours up my sleeve and thought I'd help her out.”

Little did Terri know at the time it would lead to a 28-year involvement with Australia's Most Famous Rodeo.

The days over rodeo week are long for Terri, who wakes up at 5am and leaves the rodeo at 10.30pm, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

"The people that come in here get me through it,” she said.

"I feel satisfied when the room is full with everyone's smiling faces.

"The whole week is a massive buzz.

"Just listening to the sound of the cattle and horses as they go past, through to hearing the gates shutting.

"We don't get to see a great deal and only hear the sounds.

"It's great to see children walking around, and the happiness I see on the faces of volunteers, who are here because they want to be, is great.”

Margie's Tea House is as much an icon of rodeo week as some of the competitors.

Serving to feed the volunteers who work tirelessly both on the front line and behind the scenes of the rodeo and campdraft, in recent years the mainstay has expanded from a small marquee to a covered area with plenty of seating.

Fellow volunteer Margaret McCosker, who has been involved since 2001, said the store had come a long way since then.

"When I first started there was just corned beef and pickled sandwiches in a small area of the showground,” she said.

"Now, it has expanded, and hundreds of people will come through of a day.”

After 28 years, Terri shows no signs of slowing down and can't put a price on the life experience the role has given her.

"I've formed fantastic friendships, all from saying yes to volunteering,” Mrs Beaver said.

"I've been able to learn so many skills, and it is definitely the most rewarding thing I have done in my life.

"There is a comradeship of volunteers, and a lot come from out of town.

"A lot of support has come from the local community team too, from Steele's Bakery to Carey Brothers, Norco, Lyons St Butchery, and Charlie Thorn and Dianne Sullivan.”



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