With the onset of winter, albeit very mild so far, a number of major equestrian events are planned at the showgrounds.
The Queensland lnterschool Equestrian Championships returned to Toowoomba for the second year. Almost 350 horses were stabled at the venue for the week with many local competitors arriving each day. This is a significant equestrian event for the Downs and with so many riders travelling from all parts of the state it will prove an economic boom to the region. Another equestrian event that is a major economic driver is the Darling Downs Cutting Horse Futurity held in July. This is the second largest event of its type held in Australia with competitors travelling from almost every state in Australia. This event will be followed by the Queensland lnterschool Eventing Championships to be held at the end of the month leading straight into the Toowoomba Jump Club ODE.
As far as equestrian goes, the Toowoomba Showgrounds is positioned as one of the most used facilities in the country. In the June issue of Australian Performance Horse Magazine, out of the 23 events featured from across the country, 3 were staged at the Toowoomba Showgrounds.
On the 8th July the showgrounds will be host to the Brett Forte Memorial Fundraiser conducted by Toowoomba Ole Skool Krome Club. The entire main arena will be transformed with hundreds of cars on show. The show society is an integral part of the Toowoomba Community and it is a part of our charter to assist community organisations to stage meaningful events and we are proud that we are able to assist in the club's endeavour.
We recently received correspondence from a neighbour concerned about some issues both at and around the showgrounds. Most of the comments were valid and we would be supportive of them. More importantly, suggestions and solutions were part of the correspondence and that is great. One comment that was made was that the grounds were referred to as "Our Showgrounds". This is exactly where our committee stands. The showgrounds are a public facility and a community asset. They don't belong to the show society but the Toowoomba and Darling Downs community.
Unfortunately the management and maintenance of this public asset is left to a volunteer committee of 23. We certainly cannot continue to maintain the asset without significant support from all levels of government which we continue to work with.
We have been fortunate to have received a camping extension from 3 to 7 days from the State Government. Camping and caravanning at the grounds continues to grow and this extension will only help. It is estimated that the economic benefits to the region from caravaners at the Toowoomba Showgrounds will exceed $1.1 million this financial year. With a projected 1QO/o year on year increase it is evident that caravans and camping are a growth area for the Toowoomba region.
The Comet Windmill project is almost complete with the fence due to be erected early in July. Move over the Big Pineapple, Big Banana and Big Prawn. Toowoomba now has the Big Windmill, the largest of its type in Australia.