21 June 2023

Bribbaree Show keeps country tradition alive, wins statewide resilience award

| Edwina Mason
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Bribbaree Show

With new events and record crowds, last year’s Bribbaree Show was the talk of the district and last weekend was named the winner of the AgShows NSW Resilience Award. Image: Bribbaree Show Committee.

Long has the Bribbaree Show been the calendar event of the year out in the western part of the region, but now there’s a flash trophy to show for it thanks to a huge announcement last weekend.

AgShows NSW, the peak body representing the 192 agricultural shows in NSW, has announced Bribbaree Show Society as the winner of the statewide resilience award.

Arguably one of the smallest towns in the state to still hold an annual show, last year’s Bribbaree Show, held over the October long weekend, was declared a resounding success following several challenging years.

AgShows NSW president Jill Chapman said the small village with community its beating heart, decided the big annual event – hugely popular with locals – needed a shot in the arm.

“A whole new executive committee started in early March 2020 right before COVID reached Australia, so despite many attempts the 2022 show was the first show able to go ahead under the new committee,” she said.

“They took on new roles as they saw the local show was getting stale but still had so much potential and it was that potential that came to life at the show,” Ms Champan said.

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Feedback from attendees, both visitors and exhibitors alike, was that the show was the one to go to if you wanted a real country show.

“The children’s running races, farmers’ challenge and tug-of-war drew crowds like never seen before at Bribbaree,” Ms Chapman said.

Combined with the show’s well patronised program of competition and exhibits – the new look show was the talk of the Hilltops region for weeks.

Bribbaree Show Committee secretary Emma Whitechurch, president Maryann Schiller and treasurer Mandy Schiller

On hand to receive the award were Bribbaree Show Committee secretary Emma Whitechurch, president Maryann Schiller and treasurer Mandy Schiller. Image: AgShows NSW.

Almost as fancy as the good old days when practically everyone and their sheep, chooks, horses, bags of wool and chocolate cakes converged on the showgrounds for what was one of the highlight social events of the year – the sort of event where people would travel home to see everyone else and tall tales abounded amid the beer bubbles around the bar.

Even Sydney’s hairdresser to the stars Joh Bailey would perennially bless the grounds with his horse-riding prowess.

Bribbaree Show Committee president Maryann Schiller was flanked by her treasurer Mandy Schiller and show secretary Emma Whitechurch when the winners were announced at a gala dinner in Dubbo on Saturday.

Each winner received $2000.

Over 50 nominations were received for the awards night which also saw the Adelong Pastoral and Agricultural Society Incorporated encompasses the true definition of resilience according to AgShows NSW.

“Not only did the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires leave a path of devastation through the Adelong community, it was followed almost immediately by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the 2020 and 2021 annual shows cancelled,” Ms Chapman said.

The Adelong Show was ‘rebooted’ last year with a new president at the helm, determined to see the show go ahead or fear it never happening again.

“With a new committee at the helm, the executive undertook a community survey before the 2022 show to ascertain what the community valued and enjoyed about the annual show which was a terrific idea.”

Every idea was considered and led to the introduction of a world renowned butchering display, whip cracking demonstrations, magic comedy performances, a stockman’s challenge, a quick shear with $13,000 in prize money, working dogs, a kids’ corner, and ‘Nev’s lolly scramble’.

“Last year’s show saw one of the highest gate takings ever recorded for Adelong,” Ms Chapman said.

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Another show highlighted for its resilience was Kyogle PA & H Society, which also returned after a two-year hiatus, due to the pandemic, under the leadership of a new committee.

“The Government’s Country Shows Support Package allowed the 2022 show to be bigger and better after a two-year gap,” Ms Chapman said.

An honourable mention went to Lauren Schottelius who joined the committee as secretary in 2019 but also stepped into a marketing and sponsorship role, and most recently provided valuable support to the treasurer.

“Lauren demonstrated a keen interest to both respect history but make some key changes to operations,” Ms Chapman said.

“She worked tirelessly building a new website while also finding an opportunity for rebranding which led to a new professional look for the show society.”

“The day after the show Lauren was applying for the RAS of NSW Foundation Christmas Toy distribution, securing trade space at the local Christmas party where the show society was able to give children wonderful presents and spread joy to the community,” Ms Chapman said.

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