News / Community / Business / Education / Sport / 3rd February 2021
Back in the saddle
It’s full steam ahead for the North West Equestrian Expo.
Like most large scale events, the North West Expo has been forced to change with the times to insure its survival.
Last year, the Department of Education shut the event down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The dedicated committee members have not just sat on their hands, instead, event secretary Rebecca Moxham said it will return to Coonabarabran in 2021, albeit with some necessary changes.
“That’s barring another big outbreak of course,” she admitted.
“It may never go back to what it used to be, but we are committed to running the event.”
Mrs Moxham said 2020 was the first year in the event’s 27-year history that it was cancelled.
“We’ve had some shocking droughts and floods in the past and we’ve always got through it,” she said.
“In the end, the decision last year was taken out of our hands by the Department of Education.
“But Expo good for the town, it brings a lot of people here.”
The return of the North West Expo is an economic boon for the town, bringing in around 2000 visitors for a week.
Moving forward, the committee was adamant to do what they could to ensure the future of the event, which included the need to embrace technology.
Mrs Moxham said the event will go “as paperless as possible” with schedules, results and draws all going online in an effort to thwart queues and large gatherings.
“Things like presentations could take place outside with a cap on the number of people allowed,” she said.
“We will also be working closely with the Showground Trust for additional cleaning each day.”
In even more good news, the Eventing Club has announced funding to upgrade the cross country course in time for the event.
While the COVID-19 pandemic saw the cancellation of large scale events last year, like the North West Expo, Coonabarabran business owner Semret Goitom said it also provided a silver lining.
Acacia Motor Lodge owner, Mrs Goitom admitted while there was a downturn due to the cancellation of the popular ‘Horse Expo’, businesses were saved thanks to the increased number of general tourists.
“It was a massive loss to not have the event last year, but honestly, since the pandemic started we’ve seen a lot of travellers come through town.”
Mrs Goitom theorised that since overseas travel is almost impossible, Australians seem to be holidaying in their own backyard.
“And they are being driven to the smaller country towns to avoid the crowds,” Mrs Goitom said.
Cardian’s Coffee Lounge owner, Jacinta Lowrie was excited at the return of the North West Expo.
“It’s a massive boost for the town,” she said.
“We make a fair bit of business out of it. We often do catering that they take back to the Showground.”
The 2021 North West Equestrian Expo will run at the Coonabarabran Showground from Friday, 4 June until Tuesday, 8 June.