FOR the first time since World War II, there will be no campdraft event in Upper Horton.
The annual event, an institution for the small community, will be given a miss this New Year’s Eve due to the region’s ongoing drought conditions.
Upper Horton Campdraft secretary Peter Kelly said regular participants would not be attending this year’s event due to added responsibilities caused by the drought, such as additional stock feeding.
“I think the only way to well and truly describe this drought is ‘terrible’,” Kelly said.
“We are not alone in having to cancel our campdraft: over the past year we have seen so many other long-standing annual events cancelled and unfortunately it is our turn.
“To me, the worst part is that this drought is far from over.”
Despite the campdraft’s cancellation, Kelly said the annual New Year’s Eve rodeo would go ahead as planned.
“Usually we would have about 600 participants in the campdraft flow into the rodeo event as well, but this year they won’t be there, so numbers will be down,” he said.
“However, this New Year’s Eve event is one of the best ways for our community to come together.
“That’s why it is so important we support it this year when times are tough: if we don’t, these events in smaller communities such as ours are really tough to start up again.
“If it’s not supported and it doesn’t start up again, it may be lost forever – and nobody wants that.”
The campdraft’s cancellation is also expected to take a financial toll on the community, with the event traditionally being used as a fundraiser for the Upper Horton Sporting Club.
“Usually the money we would raise from the event would help to keep the sporting club going,” Kelly said.
“It’s a great thing for the community, as everyone usually puts in where they can and does what they can.
“Without the money we would usually raise, it’s going to be tough to help fund it, that’s for sure.”
Kelly said he would “put out a call to arms” to help draw people to this year’s event.
“It’s crucial that we get people along to the New Year’s Eve event,” he said.
“This drought is not going away and people are doing it really tough.
“Let’s use this event to help people come together, forget the drought for a while and keep this great event going.”