GREAT WESTERN: New operators plan to reopen iconic venue
It has been a year since COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the closure of Rockhampton's iconic bull riding venue The Great Western Hotel - but there are new beginnings on the horizon.
The venue has been leased to North Queensland Licensed Events and the firm has already begun a recruitment drive to get the hotel back up and running.
More than 130 applications have been received for positions which include head chef, sous chef, kitchen hands, wait and floor staff, bar staff, event staff and managerial staff.
A reopening date is not yet known but the operators hope to get it up and running in time for Beef Australia, which is planned for May 2 to 8.
There will be PBR bull riding events held at the venue throughout Beef, regardless of whether the venue is open as normal or just for the events.
PBR will be held on May 7 and PBR Rockhampton Invitationals will be on May 8, June 12, July 31, September 4 and December 31 at The Great Western.
NQ Licensed Events is an event management business with offices in Townsville and Cairns.
Venue owners Colin and Vicki Bowden and Denis Cox announced in June 2020 they would be closing the venue for good after COVID-19 restrictions and regulations around the Safe Night Precinct made the business unviable.
The Bowdens bought the venue in 2014 and spent $1.6m upgrading and renovating it.
It was listed for sale in July and an auction was planned for August but had to be cancelled due to travel restrictions.
It was first listed for $2.45m and was lowered to $1.95m, with an option to lease.
The Great Western is well known for the bull riding arena where many bull riders have begun their careers. It has also hosted countless music and entertainment acts.
NQ Licensed Events has been contacted for comment.