Memorial rodeo to buck tradition

SIMPLE country entertainment is a lot harder to put on in 2013 than it was in the late entertainer Reg Lindsay’s day. Just ask his widow, Ros.

After 18 years of the Reg Lindsay Rodeo at Cessnock Showground there won’t be another this year at what had become the event’s  popular home.

Mrs Lindsay says she has had  to move the rodeo to the Morisset Showground, possibly for good.

Costs and other disagreements with the Cessnock Showground committee last year forced her  to look elsewhere, she said.

Her ambitions to stage the rodeo at Hope Estate were dashed when Cessnock City Council told her she needed a development application for the event, which included an environmental impact statement.

The costs of the application were too high and then, Mrs Lindsay said, she ran out of time and had to find another venue fast.

Mrs Lindsay, Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent and showground committee president Jeff Jaegar all say they regret the problems besetting the popular event.

‘‘I can’t not run the Reg Lindsay Rodeo,’’ Mrs Lindsay said.

‘‘It keeps his name going and it’s a wonderful event.’’

Mrs Lindsay said because Hope Estate was a major vineyard music venue, she didn’t expect complex applications.

The showground does not require a development application for events.

Mr Jaegar said costs, such as power and water, were increasing rapidly.

‘‘We just wanted to make some money and keep the [showground] gates open,’’ Mr Jaegar said.

‘‘We didn’t mean to force her out. We offered her a fair and reasonable charge.’’

The ageing showground was costly to maintain, which was why the committee was keen to get more regular events, such as markets that begin on February 17, he said.

Mrs Lindsay said she would consider a return to the showground if the committee invited the event back.

‘‘Michael [Hope] is very keen to stage the event next year but we would need to work with the council,’’ she said.

She described council requirements as ‘‘a bit over the top’’.

The Reg Lindsay Rodeo will be held on March 9.

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