Show struggles in rain

SHOWGIRL 2017: Gemma King (right) from Wallerawang and runner-up Cassidy Wilson of Marrangaroo.

SHOWGIRL 2017: Gemma King (right) from Wallerawang and runner-up Cassidy Wilson of Marrangaroo.

RAIN had a devastating impact on numbers through the gate of the Lithgow Show on March 17 and 18. 

Lithgow Show Society vice president Lee Wiggans said it would only be with the support of the community that the Show would go ahead next year after the gate fell by 75 per cent in 2017. 

“Sponsorship was up this year and we will need to have very generous support for next year,” he said. 

Events cancelled by the rain including the woodchop events, lawn mower racing, the King of the Mountain foot race and Sunday’s equestrian program. 

The decision was made at 12pm to lower the gate price to $5 a head to encourage people to brave the elements. 

Spectacular fireworks filled the sky at 8.30pm and Mr Wiggans said he was disappointed to see more than 50 cars parked alongside the showground watching the display, the occupants of which did not pay an entry fee. 

“For the cost of a cup of coffee, those people could have come in and that could have gone a long way towards paying for that fireworks display,” he said.

The Lithgow Show event, regardless of the numbers of people through the gate, takes a huge amount of work to organise by its team of dedicated volunteers. 

It has been calculated that shows the size of Lithgows take between 6000 and 8000 volunteer hours to put together, Mr Wiggans said. 

Mr Wiggans' dedication to the Show was honoured on Saturday, March 18.  

He was awarded the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW Next Generation Award. The honour, which had been kept a close secret by his fellow society members, caught Mr Wiggans off guard but he said he was very gratified to accept it.

The award recognises the next generation of show society members across the state working on their local show committees. 

“This is not something I do for gratification or awards,” Mr Wiggans said.

“But it is nice to be acknowledged and appreciated for my work as a volunteer – that people feel that my contribution is significant.”

Gemma King was named as Lithgow Showgirl for 2017. In presenting the title, Lithgow City Council’s Cassandra Coleman praised the quality of the two candidates, Wallerawang’s Gemma King and Cassidy Wilson. 

“Next year Gemma will be representing Lithgow at the Zone 5 finals. I’m not sure where they are to be held, but we’ve got 12 months of coaching and preparation work to do. It's going to be great fun and I’m really pleased to do that with you (Gemma),” Cr Coleman said.