The Gunnedah Show rodeo will go ahead this Saturday after an 11th hour reprieve from a new event partner, but an initial decision to cancel the event had emotions running high last week.

Gunnedah Show Society volunteers were disturbed by the anger from some people and heartened by the compassion of others.

The society announced last Wednesday that it would be unable to proceed with the rodeo event due to the “high costs” involved.

Gunnedah Show president Kath Wilkinson – who last year became the first woman elected to the position – said the abuse directed at show volunteers – both over the phone and in person at the show office – was unprecedented.

At the time of the initial cancellation, the show president said the availability of funds was their primary concern.

“We have a financial responsibility to the whole show,” Kath said.

Looking around the room of the show office, Kath pointed to portraits of respected, past show society committee members. She emphaised how the present committee had a responsibility to those before them to deliver a viable event.

“The committee is very appreciative of the help from sponsors and we wouldn’t like them to think we were using their funds in an irresponsible way,” she said.

But with the show rodeo back on, this time under the banner of the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA), the show society was “extremely grateful” for the “out pouring of support”.

Kath made special mention of the assistance by show society vice president Chris Mammen and others.

She said the committee members were “instrumental” in getting the rodeo back underway and crucially, within the show’s budget.

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