February 27, 2019
The 70th annual Cooyar Show was opened on Saturday afternoon by long-time campdraft caller and show stalwart Neville McNalty.
Neville has been a member of the Cooyar Show Society for 60 years and has been calling campdrafts for more than a decade, but now he’s officially retiring.
Neville and his wife Heather – another pillar of the Show Society – are moving from their home at The Palms to be closer to Toowoomba.
He recalled that his parents and grandparents were some of the founding members of the original Show Society, and had helped to organise the sports days which were the forerunner to the show.
He described some of the changes he’s seen over the years … memories of trotting at the show during the 50s and 60s, sharing crockery with the Cooyar Memorial Hall, the boxing tent, and large displays of machinery and cars.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio also spoke at the opening.
He praised the Cooyar community for their enthusiasm about organising and supporting local events.
“It’s a great community that’s willing to put its shoulder to the wheel and make every event a success,” he said.
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington agreed: “Cooyar is one of the shows that punches well above its weight.”
Show Society president Matt Ryan said the weather leading up to the show had been “pretty ordinary” which hadn’t made it easy to put this year’s show together.
“This makes it all that much more special that we do pull together and pull off these shows when it’s like this,” he said.
He thanked all the exhibitors and competitors, office bearers and committee members.
A highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of Life Membership badges to Rob and Lorraine Ryan – Matt’s uncle and aunt – for all their work over the years with the Show Society.
A minute’s silence was also held for Cooyar resident Tom Gillies who died on February 15 aged 75.
Mr Gillies served as Cooyar Show Society president for 15 years. His funeral will be held in Toowoomba on March 4.
A Brangus feature was the highlight in the Beef cattle ring, with the Lazy S stud from Condamine taking out the Grand Champion Bull with 11-month-old ‘Lady S Diplomat’.
Crowds gathered on the terrace to watch the Grand Parade, the campdraft, magic show, chainsaw races and post-ripping.
Popular events this year included the Farmers’ Challenge – which involved rolling large round bales of hay, erecting cattle panels and chasing a piglet to remove a ribbon (the Blue team won); a display of trick trail bike riding by the Western Districts (Brisbane) Trials Club; and demolition derby racing.
The giant slide proved a hit with the kids.
And then, of course, there’s always the bull ride and fireworks which finished off the day.