Former Rocky Show organiser explains how it went wrong
PROMINENT local nurseryman and past president of the Rockhampton Agricultural Society, Daniel Oram, has offered his insights behind the running of the Rockhampton Show.
In his extensive letter to The Morning Bulletin, he explained what he thinks were the main reasons behind the Rockhampton Show split, the key issues at play between the warring parties, and what needs to happen next while a compromise is sought.
With all the hype over the Rockhampton Show, there are a few issues that need to be aired.
One of the biggest problems is the Show committee itself.
There was a poor attitude between the executive, the exhibitors, and vendors.
One service group who have served the show for many years was treated like dirt as was many exhibitors.
When the council ran the show they introduced a system where each section looked after and ran themselves.
This worked until the present Show Society thought they could do better and told the groups that they would not be running their sections.
They also increased the entry costs for some sections supported by many pensioners to a value where they could not exhibit. This was done even though all prize money for these sections were fully funded.
It was a hard road to hoe for the new Show Society and they were not helped by their attitude, technology, today's norms, and the council.
The mayor wants the show to go back to its glory days but this is as possible as a space station being built in Rockhampton.
The main problem was that the show was a meeting place for locals and out of towners to see the latest TV or furniture or gadget.
This can not happen now because there is always a home show, leisure show or other industry specific event being held.
The Showman's Guild have for a long time held a gun to the head of show societies but have bent where it suited them, they entered into contracts with Show Societies and were renegotiated after a set time.
It is not good for one side to say they will set up their own show and take their bat and ball, nor is it right for the society to not change to accommodate the request of the guild.
This problem has gone on for two years and I believe that the real reason for the split is not fully explained to the people.
This show belongs to the people of Rockhampton and the mayor making threats does not help.
The Showman's Guild is one of the biggest revenue sources for the Rockhampton Show.
The name of the show is the Rockhampton Agricultural Show and this is what a lot of people, the society, showman's guild and council have forgotten.
There are many fantastic and successful rural shows that do not have the showman's guild present. The best example is the Ridgelands, Yeppoon, Mt Larcom, Baralaba and Mt Morgan shows.
These shows are supported by the people and the rural community.
In my youth, I was a member of the rural youth and along with several clubs we put displays in the Rockhampton Show. These along with other agricultural exhibits were always a big draw card and still are at the rural shows.
Is the showman's rides the answer to a successful show? No.
Does it help? Yes.
My belief is that the current Rockhampton Agricultural Show needs to partner with an industry event to increase their drawing power for the public.
Also they need to partner with a service organisation who can offer more community help and a better chance to build their brand.
This is just my point of view and I am sure that there are many more just as good.
The way to change things is from the inside so I would suggest that the Show Society let these people join the society and stop the practice of being a secret society where regular meetings of the entire society do not happen.
In the interest of public disclosure, I am a past president of the Rockhampton Agricultural Society and our business has supported regional shows with donations and sponsorship of regional shows and exhibitors as well as displaying product.