I have just attended the funeral of a bloke who was a great mate to many of us in the outback. He told the bush story to thousands and brought attention and the tourist dollar to his home town.
Just lately, another little western town has lost two great ambassadors, and over the years we have seen these larger-than-life characters thin out.
This brings me to speak to our young people – the bush needs people who make the place progress.
I know there are young people out there who only need a little encouragement. I have witnessed first-hand how young people, along with long-standing committee members, are taking our local rodeo committee to a new level.
This is not only happening here. Having been involved with many of the events around the bush, it makes me feel good when another generation steps up.
While sadness has put a cloud over the bush lately, with the loss of precious lives and the effect that has on all of us, we need these events to carry on, not only for the economic benefits they bring to our towns, but also the social value.
I reiterate to the next generation – don’t be an observer, get in and get your hands dirty. Be a part of what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
In different places I have lived, being a part of working bees to build rodeo arenas has left me with a great sense of achievement and many long-lasting friendships.
Obviously we are not sitting high on state or federal government priority lists, so the place we’re mostly likely going to find a helping hand is at the end of our arms.
I also see this as a good way for people who are going through tough times to have someone to have a yarn to.
In the words of JFK, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.”
These actions will also help the legacy of our great ambassadors to continue on for years to come.
– Keith Douglas (Jnr), Cloncurry