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Winds a havoc for Show

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

Secretary of the Silver City Show John Ralph, watching the show’s clean-up progress Tuesday morning. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Secretary of the Silver City Show John Ralph, watching the show’s clean-up progress Tuesday morning. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

September winds proved a nuisance for the Silver City Show on the weekend, with smaller crowds across the Saturday afternoon and ticket sales down on previous years.

With the ticket numbers yet to be counted, Secretary of the show John Ralph expected gate sales to be lower this year.

“We’ve lost a bit of money in the process of doing the gates and everything, as well as the numbers that came,” he said.

“Usually, Saturday’s are our best day but I rang the girl in the office on Sunday morning and the take on Saturday night was down on previous years. It was down about $7000.”

The wind, which is a common annoyance this time of year in Broken Hill, had likely deterred many local residents from coming out said Mr Ralph.

“I heard the wind blowing Friday night and early hours Saturday morning, and I thought ‘it’ll blow itself out’, which it normally does,” he said.

“But when we came over Saturday morning, the pergolas were all over the oval (and) people’s stuff was everywhere.”

The period between 10 o’clock Saturday morning to 6 o’clock that night was when the wind had been at its worst, with fewer people buying tickets and smaller crowds wandering around the show.

“Normally we don’t get many in on Saturday morning to watch the horses because there are people who’ve got to go to work and all that, but usually about two o’clock they start streaming in pretty heavily,” said Mr Ralph.

“The wind went from 47 kilometres in the afternoon to down to about 28 kilometres at quarter past seven, which is not bad because the rides can go up then.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had wind problems here. September’s a bad month for it. As soon as we’re in September and the first lot of wind comes up, you can hear the people around the town saying ‘must be the show coming.’”

Due to the strength of the wind, Mr Ralph said even high quality gear and equipment wouldn’t be able to deal with it.

“A lot of the showground guys come with some good gear. The tents are all painted and they look good. But the problem we’ve got out here is that you can’t put a peg in the ground because a bit of wind rips it all out, there’s no stability,” he said.

“When you come to a place like Broken Hill and get to the show, you don’t rock up with a couple of aluminium bars and a piece of tarpaulin, because it doesn’t last long.

“It’s pretty hard to deter the Showies, nothing deters them.”

Mr Ralph said a move to the fourth week of September could alleviate some of the wind problems for the show and had raised that possibility with the Showman’s Guild.

“I spoke to Clayton Taylor, who’s in charge of the Showman’s Guild that comes to Broken Hill, and was looking to have the show moved to a week later,” he said.

“Our show runs on the third September of every year and I thought maybe if we jump to the fourth week of the month, we’ll miss that wind.

“But owing to the fact that the Guild runs on a schedule for every town they come through, if I changed it we wouldn’t be guaranteed the rides, and other things, we’re getting in now.”

In spite of the frustrating wind, Mr Ralph said this year’s show had been “one of the best I’ve been to in a long time.” 

“We got miles of entries into the show’s competitions, the snake man once again proved to be a drawcard. That and the animal nursery was chock-a-block full,” he said.

“I brought in three new food vans which were excellent. The baked potato one, which also sold chicken wings and pork ribs, had a twenty-minute wait. That’s how busy they were.”

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