Crusty Demons give Rocky the flick
By JOLEE WAKEFIELD
ROCKHAMPTON'S lost chance of staging a major world motocross tour event came down to a single phone call that showgrounds staff say was never received.
That phone call may have cost Rockhampton $500,000.
The Beef Capital was the preferred venue to stage The Crusty Demons' East Coast Carnage Tour next month but promoter Mike Porra said he was forced to take it to Gladstone because the Rockhampton Showgrounds were booked out.
A crowd of 10,000 is expected in Gladstone to see one of the most popular extreme youth sports in the world, with organisers predicting $500,000 to be injected into the local economy.
Mr Porra said it was too bad for Rockhampton.
"It (Rockhampton) was the obvious choice ? a central location,'' he said.
"But then I contacted the people from the (Rockhampton) Showgrounds and they told me the grounds were unavailable for an eight-week period from May to June.
"They were no help at all and would not budge.
"Then we were approached by the Gladstone community and within 48 hours we had a deal in place.''
Mr Porra said he spoke to a woman named Megan from the Rockhampton Showgrounds about two to three months ago.
But Rockhampton Showgrounds co-ordinator Megan Armstrong, the only person who books events at the grounds according to Acting Mayor Jim Webber, denied she was ever contacted by anyone from the Crusty Demons. "But they're right, we don't have any spaces during that time,'' she said.
When The Morning Bulletin asked Ms Armstrong if something could have been arranged for such a large and opportunistic event, she said: "It could have been. If someone rang us we could have negotiated.''
Beef Australia 2006 is at the grounds from May 1 to May 7 and the Rockhampton Show from June 6 to 8.
Then a speedway (June 18 to 19) and a junior cattle judging competition the following weekend will use the grounds. Other times in the eight-week period were needed for preparation and clearing of events.
Rockhampton Acting Mayor Jim Webber said it was a shame the tour had to accept "second best''.
"We're disappointed. It would have been great for Rockhampton. I'm sure we could have fit them in.
"The biggest losers were the fans who could not travel to Gladstone, Rockhampton Motocross Club secretary Julie Newsome said.
"Even people not involved in motocross love the Crusty Demons.''
The tour boasts the biggest tricks and performers in one of the most popular extreme youth sports in the world and will be held at the Marley Brown Oval on Saturday, May 27.