Warwick Ladies Auxiliary mourns end of rodeo era
WHEN you buy a steak burger at this year's Warwick Rodeo, you won't be seeing the same familiar faces you have for many years.
This rodeo will signal the end of an era for a number of local residents at the end of this month.
The welcoming faces of the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society Ladies Auxiliary will no longer greet patrons at the society canteen, after the controversial and now permanent disbandment of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee earlier this year.
I have enjoyed working for the community, but feel sad that it has ended this way.
Many of the women serving on the Ladies Auxiliary had devoted large parts of their lives to the Warwick Show and Rodeo, and that for many will all come to an end at this year's event.
The Bush Telegraph caught up with some of the hard working volunteers to find out what they were doing with their spare time now, and what fond memories they had of their time serving the people of Warwick and district and further afield.
While most have severed their ties with the society completely, some have become involved in other ways.
Nancy Gross, who was the committee chairman, served on the auxiliary for more than 30 years and was a familiar face at the show and rodeo canteen, any time of the day or night.
Nancy said while working on the canteen over many years, the ladies saw the same friendly faces each and every year, and she thanked them and all the sponsors for supporting the Ladies Auxiliary's fundraising efforts, which amounted to a significant sum over countless years.
"I'm sure they will miss us as much as we will miss them," she said.
Nancy worked tirelessly for the society, not only in the canteen, but by spending hundreds of hours making decorations for the spectacular show and rodeo balls for a myriad of years.
Nancy also worked, alongside husband Bill, organising trophies and sponsors, for the hugely successful Warwick Hoof and Hook competition, which just last month celebrated 50 continuous years.
Her creative hand-made decorations adorned the walls of the Warwick show pavilion for the last time at the 50th Anniversary Beef Dinner last month.
Nancy said she was disheartened by how the volunteer committee was disbanded, however at this year's rodeo, she is looking forward to relaxing and watching her family's steers buck out of the chutes from the other side of the canteen counter.
Another member of the now disbanded Ladies Auxiliary, Pam Coy, said she would miss the comradeship of the other women who served with her on the committee.
"When you work the hours behind the counter that most of these ladies did during show and rodeo time, in particular, they become like your family during the week," Pam said. "We all got on so well in the canteen, and the people we met were great. We were willing to help them and they kept coming back," she said.
"It is the people that we will all miss."
Pam said she is enjoying spending more time on the farm with her husband, Norm. Mary Barbierato was a volunteer on the auxiliary for the past eight years, and will miss seeing the people she has come to know while working at the rodeo canteen.
"We knew many of the customers by name, and knew which ones were gluten intolerant, so ordered special bread rolls in for them. Some of our Ladies Auxiliary volunteers took a week off work or school to help out at the rodeo canteen," Mary said.
"I have enjoyed working for the community, but feel sad that it has ended this way," Mary said.
Wendy Schelbach said she loved decorating the pavilion before the rodeo cabaret and Show Ball each year.
Wendy volunteered for the Ladies Auxiliary from 1989 to 2005, but still helped out decorating the pavilion right up until the Show Ball this year.
"They were two days each year I marked off on the calendar and I loved spending time with my few close friends decorating the hall and enjoying their company," she said.
A Ladies Auxiliary member for 20 years, Margaret Waltisbuhl, recalls fondly the great times she spent with the other ladies on the committee. "I miss not being with the other ladies.
"We were there for each other and we were there for the community. We did form a special friendship and I will miss all that," she said.
Another hard working Ladies Auxiliary volunteer, Christine Barbierato, has this year become a member of the Management Committee, so will continue her involvement in the operations of the annual Show and Rodeo, which is an integral part of Warwick's history.
A huge thank you to all of these women for their labour of love to our community.