TOO RISKY: Killarney Rodeo cancelled amidst drought
A TOUGH decision was made to cancel the Killarney Rodeo one month out from the event after drought conditions took a financial toll on local sponsors.
Committee members reined in fundraising efforts last week after realising their usual supporters were finding it difficult to spare the cash.
Killarney Show and Rodeo Society president Jan Hamilton said the committee was disappointed they wouldn't be able to host the much-loved event this year, but understood the strain people were under.
When seeking sponsorship funds the committee was often met with a 'no' or usual amounts were halved because times were tough, she said.
"There is a drought and things are tight," Mrs Hamilton said.
The much-anticipated annual event costs organisers more than $14,000 to operate each year, covering expenses such as stock hire, prize money, insurance and professional bullfighters.
A large amount of revenue comes from rodeo attendance and the committee was concerned the weather could negatively affect numbers.
Mrs Hamilton said the group of volunteers faced a real risk of personal financial loss if the rodeo went ahead.
"The committee is upset but we had to make the decision," she said.
"Were we going to risk losing thousands?"
The rodeo was scheduled to take place on August 9-11.
Mrs Hamilton said while it would have been possible to pare down the offerings at the annual rodeo to reduce costs, the committee preferred to wait until next year to offer all the usual rodeo events.
"If people want to come to the rodeo they want to see all the events," she said.
Once the committee and community made the joint decision Mrs Hamilton admits it felt as though a weight was lifted.
"It was a relief," she said.
"It's really hard work to make $14,000 out of $50, $100 and $200 sponsorships.
"We felt like we were letting the team down by not being able to find more."
The president said the committee still planned to host the Killarney Show in February 2020 and hoped to offer some form of rodeo within that event.
"The show is a totally different event," Mrs Hamilton said.
"The show societies are there for the community to showcase their produce and their stock.
"It gives a chance for people to gather together and share their feelings on what is happening with everything, including the drought."
Whether the Killarney Rodeo is held in 2020 depends on the needs of the community.
"The committee understands businesses won't jump back on their feet as soon as it rains," Mrs Hamilton said.
"It will take a while to catch up."