Mer­ri­jig Rodeo now all set to go

Dis­pute set­tled, with par­ties look­ing to fu­ture

Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By PAM ZIERK-MA­HONEY & RHYLL McCOR­MACK

IT’S all full steam ahead for the Mer­ri­jig Rodeo on March 8 af­ter a dis­pute be­tween the com­mit­tee and the land lease­holder was set­tled last week.

The dis­pute came to a head re­cently when the landowner pad­locked the gates of the venue in an at­tempt to reach a set­tle­ment.

The Mer­ri­jig Rodeo and Sports As­so­ci­a­tion (MRSA) om­mit­tee and the landowner, Adele McCor­mack, have now con­firmed they have re­solved their dis­pute and all par­ties are now work­ing to­wards a suc­cess­ful event.

Next month’s twi­light event will again form part of the Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion’s (APRA) tri-se­ries of events held with Kyabram and Chiltern over the La­bor Day week­end.

APRA rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Steve Hil­ton, said he was look­ing for­ward to the Mer­ri­jig Rodeo go­ing ahead smoothly.

Mrs McCor­mack, un­der the guid­ance of the McCor­mack Park man­age­ment com­mit­tee, leases a one acre par­cel of her prop­erty to the MRSA for $1 a year, with a fur­ther 25 acres of land and wa­ter do­nated by her for use by campers and com­peti­tors.

The lease, which is for the La­bor Day week­end only, en­ables the rodeo to con­tinue its 40 year his­tory.

Mrs McCor­mack said “it’s full steam ahead now for the Mer­ri­jig Rodeo”.

“The rodeo is an ex­tremely im­por­tant event not only to Mer­ri­jig but to Mans­field,” she said.

Start­ing from hum­ble begin­nings at McCor­mack Park on land gen­er­ously of­fered by the late Cyril McCor­mack, the com­mu­nity put in hun­dreds of vol­un­teer hours to con­struct the high qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture now at the rodeo grounds.

Earth works, the new arena meet­ing all safety fea­tures, tree plant­ing, shade screens and light­ing tow­ers have en­sured the event has been able to at­tract high qual­ity rodeo rid­ers from across Aus­tralia.

MRSA vice pres­i­dent, Dave Shel­ton, and sec­re­tary, Lisa Ser­vice, stood down from the as­so­ci­a­tion last week to pave the way for new mem­bers to take over the run­ning of this year’s rodeo event.

Both Mr Shel­ton and Ms Ser­vice have given ded­i­cated ser­vice over the past 12 years and seen the pop­u­lar­ity of the Mer­ri­jig Rodeo grow into a great day out for fam­ily and friends.

New MRSA mem­bers were ap­pointed at a spe­cial meet­ing held last Thurs­day evening.

He­lena and Steve Simp­kin, Beau Pur­cell, Evan Hous­ton and Noel Wil­la­ton join with on­go­ing mem­bers, Nel­lie Walker (pres­i­dent) and Mandy Aistrope.

“We are new mem­bers with past ex­pe­ri­ence and we are go­ing to run a rodeo,” said Mrs Simp­kin.

“I’ve just put my hand up and said I’ll run it.

“I want to see it (the rodeo) go ahead.

“We will run this rodeo and it will be very suc­cess­ful; and it will be great for Mer­ri­jig.”

PHOTO: Richard Jago

RIDE ‘EM WILL: Mer­ri­jig has pro­duced its own home grown lo­cal rodeo bull rider, Will Pur­cell, who will be fac­ing up to strong com­pe­ti­tion at next month’s Mer­ri­jig Rodeo.

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