Carnival looks to clear hurdle

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Carnival looks to clear hurdle

The fate of a local sports carnival is again up in the air after a decline in numbers this year following a successful last-ditch effort to revive the event previously.

The Mount Gambier Showjumping Club Junior and Young Rider Carnival celebrated its 25th instalment at the Blue Lake Velodrome.

The fate of the beloved carnival was up in the air in 2022 due to a lack of numbers in part due to COVID, however it is not yet in the clear.

There was a decline last year of 121 rounds of competition on the busiest day of the event (Saturday) by 33 young riders, compared to around 160 rounds by 55 riders in 2022.

Riders travelled from as far as Albury, Mildura, Gisborne, Phillip Island and Adelaide for the most recent competition.

Mount Gambier Showjumping Club (MGSC) president David Johnson said the decline in numbers was going to reviewed by the club into the future.

“Something the club is going to have to look at moving forward is whether it is actually viable,” he said.

“It is a great show but we cannot continue to run it at the losses we are. Our thoughts were after 2022, because we have had some quiet years, that we had seen a revitalisation of it which made it worthwhile doing.

“We have been down as low as this in the past so we have had several years of just average numbers.

“We got a spread from across the country, but we just did not get as many come through as the year before.”

The club has made a number of attempts to reinvigorate the carnival in the past including moving the event both slightly earlier and later, none of which proved successful.

Mr Johnson said with the changing of the times the club was open to comment from members on how to improve festival attendance.

“It is a difficult time of year perhaps, once upon a time we could get close to 200 rounds on the Saturday,” he said.

“People are making different choices to what they have historically … and that is where from a club perspective we have got to look to cater for the audience.

Mr Johnson said the club was continuing to look for what people would like from the event with any ideas or comment welcomed.

“We welcome suggestions from the fraternity to see what would work best for them.”

The novelty event was won by Zoe Addinsall on horses Rimfire and Maddy followed by Zhoe Willison who competed with Battalion and Lachlan.

Mr Johnson said the carnival’s fun-filled challenge, which required a rider and non-rider to pair up, was well supported.

“The riders had to break the start flags, go through and put their helmets and their boots on and then jump on the horse and jump 6-7 fences in the quickest time possible,” he said.

“Then they had to go to a wait point, jump off the horse and hand it to a handler and run off to their non rider partner, tag them and then away they went.

“The non-rider did a bit of an obstacle course on foot where there was a mini four-bar they had to hurdle and then they had to weave in and out of bollards with witches hats and tennis balls on top.”

The Windsor Management Insurance and Horseland Speed Championship 90cm was heavily contested by 17 riders, with Adelaide rider Macy Watson on Finch Farm Lego reigning supreme and Mildura’s William Talent on Duchess claiming second place honours.

The Galpins and Horseland Speed Championship 110cm was won by Mount Gambier local Mackenzie Richards-Fennell on Showtym Shy, followed by Watson on the ever-reliable Finch Farm Lego.

In a strong end to the weekend, Glencoe’s Shae Tweddle on Glenshea Riversong won the Grant District Council Junior Classic 115cm Round of the Fosters Cup while the City of Mount Gambier Young Rider Classic 130cm was won by Victoria’s Mikayla Hogg.

The Mount Gambier Showjumping Club’s biggest event for the year, the Easter Showjumping Carnival, will take place from March 29 while freshman days will take place from now until the end of the year.

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