Five-time division champion John Causley shows the strain as he started off his title defence in the lightweight division at the Wooli Goanna Pulling Championships.
Five-time division champion John Causley shows the strain as he started off his title defence in the lightweight division at the Wooli Goanna Pulling Championships. Adam Hourigan Photography

Goanna Pull drags in record entries

THE secret to goanna pulling success, according to promotions manager Brenda Little, is to lie on the ground, get up on your arms in a goanna-like position, put a leather belt round your neck and pull the other person over.

And people will flock from all over the country to watch.

It may sound bizarre but Ms Little said the annual event is now part of Wooli's culture, and something that they were pleased to see run this year.

"It's a decent crowd, and they're all here and getting into it and spending money, which isn't the aim of the day, but it's all helpful,” she said.

The traditional long weekend festival in Wooli was in danger of folding earlier this year when a committee could not be formed to continue the organisation, but after a series of community meetings and an outpouring of support, the event ran yesterday like clockwork, more popular than ever.

"It's been wonderful to have the community rally behind the event and have so many people be able to help out in various capacities,” Ms Little said.

While the uninitiated had a few questions about the event, like whether there are any real goannas involved (there's not), the goanna pull event has continued to grow in popularity.

From eight years old to 180 kilograms, they line up on the boards, hands caked with resin, some with intense stares and others with looks of fear as they wait for referee and multiple past champion Wayne 'Tank' Phillips to start the fight.

"We've got record entries in the goanna pulling this year, and it's building up like a real culture of people returning every year,” Ms Little said. "One of the tug-of-war teams is from Cairns on holidays, they knew the event was on and formed a team for the day.”

RELATED: MP Kevin Hogan has his turn at Goanna Pulling

Making up the entertainment on the day is tug-of-war contests, woodchopping, foot races as well as carnival rides, food and market stalls, and Ms Little said they couldn't be happier with the outcome.

"It was good not to have a hot day as we have had and the rain has held off which has been fabulous,” she said.

"A lot of people from away and from over the Clarence Valley are here to support us, and it's just good, old fashioned fun.

"Where else do you something that's exactly like this?”



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