Rodeo must go on
By ADRIAN MILLER
HEAVY rain did not stop the Lawrence twilight rodeo going ahead at Maclean Showground yesterday, but fewer people than usual turned out to watch the annual event.
A torrential downpour an hour and a half before the first event put the rodeo in jeopardy.
Organisers decided they should run the program because heats had been completed earlier in the day. They wanted to keep faith with competitors.
Rain eased as the first event loomed and the rodeo was back on track ? muddy at that.
The rodeo has been run since 1982 by the Lawrence community and is a fundraiser for many community projects and charities.
Along the way it has gained a reputation as one of the best rodeos in New South Wales. It regularly attracts thousands of spectators.
The rain cut the crowd in half yesterday.
Lawrence Rodeo Committee president Bruce Green said the event was able to proceed because the arena was not unsafe.
"Our main concern was the safety of the competitors," he said.
"We had to monitor conditions throughout the night and make sure they weren't too unsafe for the riders and animals.
"Competitors had the option to pull out at any time if they felt unsafe, and some did."
Mr Green said the reputation of the rodeo may have been harmed if it was called off. People had travelled great distances and might not come back.
"We have to run it for the competitors because if we don't, they might not come back again," he said.
He said the rain was 'hugely disappointing', considering the event was a fundraiser.