About 700 riders came to Walcha last weekend for the inaugural motorcycle event. Mayor Eric Noakes said it will become an annual event.
The DK Freestyle Show was a highlight as was the rodeo, and the final billy cart derby for the year at the monthly farmer’s market.
The Oxley Riders held a poker run for everyone on Saturday which raised $3,000 for the Walcha community.
The Horns, Hooves and Harleys rodeo on Saturday night was enjoyed by locals, cowboys and motorcycle riders alike.
A grant of $4,000 from the NSW Government helped Walcha Council fund the festival which was pulled together in just three weeks following the voluntary financial collapse of the former organisers.
Mr Noakes said he also approached the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network who gave $15,500 in funding.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said on the back of the failure by the event company to present a festival of motorcycles, he determined to go to the Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres and ask for necessary funding to help to run the event.
“There were high hopes for a fantastic weekend and when the event organisers unfortunately withdrew, I was really happy to go to the Minister and fight behalf of the Walcha Council for this funding.
It’s a tough time in the district, the impact of the ferocious windstorm last December, the ongoing, unprecedented drought and outbreak of fires have all been a heavy load
“It’s a tough time in the district, the impact of the ferocious windstorm last December, the ongoing, unprecedented drought and outbreak of fires have all been a heavy load.
“I was so disappointed for Walcha residents that the event would not go ahead as planned.
“It was great to see the town this weekend with all these visitors camping and enjoying the free entertainment and contributing to a local economy that is really feeling the impact of the drought.
Mr Anderson also congratulated and thanked Mayor Eric Noakes and the Walcha Council for ‘stepping up’.
“I know the funding I have been able to secure was a big help to make sure this was a success,” he said.
“I also really want to thank the riders who have stood tall and come to Walcha. This was a real shot in the arm for the community during a really tough time.
“The benefit to the local community being able to stage this event is massive in the current climate.”
The majority of local businesses said they had been very busy all weekend and the feedback they received from the motorbike riding visitors was overwhelmingly positive.
If the original organisers did nothing more at least they kick started this event
Janelle Archdale from Paperdolls said one couple decided to come when they heard the weekend was cancelled as they knew “this little town will have put a lot of work into the festival”.
“Overall it was a very positive, happy crowd who loved being here and are keen to return, however not annually, every two years was the preference,” she said.
Edwina Payne from Graze Cafe said she had a good weekend.
“Lots of really lovely bikies visited our cafe who were all very happy and complimentary about our town,” she said. “There was a great vibe around town on Saturday which was a really busy day for us.”
Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the aim of Walcha Council was for locals to take control and make the weekend an annual event.
“If the original organisers did nothing more at least they kick started this event and through the path that followed made us as a community realise that we could run this event, do it better, let Walcha make them welcome and focus it on our town.,” he said