Show president denies campdrifting

NEW Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president Neville Fanning has dismissed suggestions his elevation to the top job – less than two months out from the rodeo – is part of a “campdrafting coup”.

Speculation has been rife about personnel changes within the society since its annual general meeting last week, at which former president John Wilson stood down and after which secretary Diane Coy unexpectedly quit.

A management committee meeting at the showgrounds on Thursday night had been rumoured to be the scene of more dramatic resignations, with senior rodeo figures tipped to pull the pin in protest at Mr Fanning’s election.

But the new society chief yesterday assured rodeo and campdraft fans alike there had been no further fallout.

The position of Show Committee chairman, which John Wilson had also held, remains vacant but a new society secretary has been appointed.

While neither Mr Wilson nor Mrs Coy have commented publicly on the machinations of the society in past weeks, sources have suggested Mr Wilson stepped down as president due to what he perceived as a lack of support.

Mrs Coy, who was secretary for seven years and who has been widely praised for her skills and dedication to the role, is understood to have resigned due to concerns about internal politicking.

Rivalry between the rodeo and campdraft camps has been long standing but campdraft champion Mr Fanning was adamant the society was united ahead of Australia’s Most Famous Rodeo on the last weekend of October.

“Thursday night’s meeting was a good one – there has been no campdrafting takeover, there is no truth to that,” Mr Fanning said.

“There is no predominance towards campdrafting and there have always been campdraft identities on the management committee.”

Mr Fanning confirmed the appointment of Warwick’s Janice Gifford to the full-time paid position of secretary.

“Janice is a local lady who was secretary of a leagues club up until six months ago,” Mr Fanning said.

“She has a lot of experience and is getting a handle on everything – she has a big job in front of her but the rodeo is going to run smoothly.”

Mr Fanning hinted at “some new concepts” for the 2010 event but declined to be drawn on the details, saying these would be released when “signed and sealed”.

Rodeo Committee chairman Terry Keogh was last night equally adamant everything was ship-shape, describing Thursday night’s meeting as “very calm”.

“Basically it’s full steam ahead – I’d back Neville on that,” said Mr Keogh, a 38-year society stalwart.

“I’m still rodeo chairman, everyone else stayed on and the only thing we are focussed on is the future.”

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