Cooyar Trail Bike Ride committee members Bill Brown and Sharon and Mike Duncombe were feeling greatly relieved on Saturday afternoon; the committee’s determination to press on through drought and rain was rewarded with a bumper turnout at this year’s Trail Bike Ride

October 17, 2017

Just two weeks ago Cooyar State School’s P&C were considering pulling the plug on this year’s Cooyar Trail Bike Ride.

Low winter rainfall and a bone-dry start to Spring had reduced most properties in the area to a state close to full-blown drought.

But organisers decided to press on, and their optimism was rewarded just a few days later with the first good rainfall the area had seen in months.

It was enough to convince them they’d made the right decision … right up until last Friday, when BOM issued a weather alert warning an even bigger load of rain was on the way.

Fortunately the cracking thunderstorm that dumped up to 80mm across large parts of the South Burnett on Friday afternoon didn’t stretch all the way down the south-eastern flank of the Bunya Mountains to Cooyar Showgrounds.

And on Saturday, the rain stayed away long enough for the first day of the weekend-long event to run without a hitch.

Trail Bike Ride committee member Mike Duncombe agreed the two weeks leading up to this year’s event had been an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved.

“The trail bike ride relies on the cooperation of neighbouring landholders, and a fortnight ago they were doing it really tough with the dry,” Mike said.

“But when we got a splash of rain about 10 days ago it greened things up and we knew we could go ahead.

“Then on Friday, a storm dumped an inch of rain about six kilometres from town, but it didn’t touch the Showgrounds or the properties north of it where the riding trails are, so we were lucky there as well.”

The P&C’s reward was a bumper roll-up of almost 900 riders for the open, novice and pee-wee classes, as well as seeing Cooyar’s Showgrounds packed with tents and happy spectators enjoying some afternoon entertainment in the main ring after the day’s trail rides had wound down.

The 29-year-old event is one of the P&C’s major annual fundraisers.

Volunteers not only oversee the trail bike rides, but operate the canteen and undertake compering duties too.

Mike said numbers were up this year despite the overcast weather.

Sunday proved to be a little wetter, but not so much that anything needed to be cancelled – just shortened a little from the original plan.

Cooyar finally got its well-deserved drink on Monday after everyone had returned home.

Matt Ryan compered Saturday afternoon’s barrel races in the main arena
Tents ringed most of the arena to accommodate the almost 900 riders who took part
There was no shortage of riders for the barrel races, which went on until dusk
New shade sails over the campdrafting pens proved popular with some spectators keen to shelter from a threatened cloudburst
Riders returning from a day of trail riding around nearby properties looked exhausted, but happy

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Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables