Rodeo may limit alcohol strength

THE Warwick Rodeo is looking at limiting the strength of alcohol sold at the October event, to bring it in line with a proposed State Government ban on full-strength alcohol at major events.

Warwick Show and Rodeo Society chairman John Wilson said he was keeping an eye on the proposed legislation change and the committee was toying with the idea of limiting the strength of alcohol sold at Australia's Most Famous Rodeo.

“Years ago, when we changed from mixing spirits with post-mix (soft drink) to using pre-mixed cans of alcohol, people were annoyed,” Mr Wilson said.

“However, when they're at the bar at the event, they soon get over it. You have to move with the times.

“We sold mid-strength rum last year.”

Fair Trading minister Peter Lawlor said Queensland had the toughest laws to combat problem drinking in Australia with the crackdown stemming from a reported increase of alcohol-fuelled violence and crime.

However, our much loved rodeo has always kept abreast with the times in changing legislation, as glass has already been abolished from the arenas.

“We're good country folk, only cans are served and not many people order wine with the plastic glasses,” he joked.

The proactive rodeo organiser was quick to point out the serious issues which coincided with having a good time on the booze.

“We have food, soft drink, tea and coffee on offer so people aren't just drinking (alcohol),” he said.

“We have a fantastic relationship with liquor licensing and Warwick Police because we're all about balancing safety and fun.

“Besides, the drinking is only one small part of the event, the drinking area is set away from the main action so families can enjoy the event without even coming into contact with a bar.”

Mr Wilson wears many hats in the Rose City and was present for Adair Donaldson's information night about problems arising from combining youth and alcohol at The Scots PGC College on Tuesday night.

“I went there as a father but I got a lot out of the night as someone who helps organise events” he said.

“As Mr Miyagi (from the Karate Kid movies) always said, 'the best defence is not being there' and I truly believe that. It's about mateship and getting out of bad situations before it erupts; know the signs and act accordingly.”

Last year's Mt Isa Rodeo only sold mid-strength spirits, had restrictions on wine sales and has been selling only mid-strength beer for the past few years.

Mr Wilson has always had a sobering view on alcohol.

“If people are dead keen to binge drink, they will, but we know to look out for the warning signs and will turf people out to cool down,” he said.

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