Great ride, great comeback

Participants in this year’s Kilkivan Great Horse Ride assemble on the trail. The event returned this year after floods and Hendra virus forced its cancellation last year.
Participants in this year’s Kilkivan Great Horse Ride assemble on the trail. The event returned this year after floods and Hendra virus forced its cancellation last year. David Crossley

THE Kilkivan Great Horse Ride lived up to its name when it made a great comeback performance across the Kilkivan district at the weekend.

After being cancelled twice last year because of floods and Hendra virus, this year's event took advantage of beautiful weekend horse-riding and partying weather.

Ride president Neville McSweeney yesterday said about 520 horses and riders took part in the big all-day event, with 800 to 900 people at the Saturday night concert at Kilkivan Showgrounds.

The event is making a big and undoubtedly difficult comeback from last year's cancellations.

The cancellations were difficult for organisers who had previously been hoping for more than 1000 riders.

This year's event featured four trails - the Hanging Rock Trail from Thornside at Widgee to Kilkivan, the Oakview Carriage Trail, the Tansey-Boonara trail and the Kilkivan-Wongella trail .

Mr McSweeney said organisers were grateful for the fine weather and a good safe ride with no incidents or injuries.

Participants had the choice of taking their own lunch or buying it fresh from stalls operated by community groups along the way.

The riders paraded along Bligh St, Kilkivan, at 4pm, before the concert which began at 5pm.

The Saturday event really began on Friday night, with many entrants camping near the trail starting points.

Street stalls and children's events added to family entertainment which included jumping castles, merry-go-rounds and a bucking bull.

Other in-town entertainment included a re-enactment of a western saloon gunfight and live music from students of the Gympie-based Australian Institute of Country Music.

Pony club events were a big part of Sunday's activities, organisers said.

Overnight camping at the showgrounds was made much more entertaining by top live music from artists including Steve Ford, Luella Widt, Don Costa and Neil Duddy.

All catering at the event was done by local service groups and other community organisations, including the kindergarten, the Country Women's Association and the school Parents and Citizens group, Mr McSweeney said.

It was all a source of much-needed optimism after last year's event was postponed because of floods and then cancelled altogether because of an outbreak of Hendra virus later in the year.

It was a good safe ride with no incidents or injuries.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie, horses, kilkivan great horse ride



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