THEY will be ‘off and racing’ at Booleroo Centre this weekend, but it will not be the usual hooves heading down the straight.
While on the lookout for an unusual fundraiser, a small committee stumbled across sheep racing.
Booleroo Centre sheep races committee member Alice Nottle said the idea came about last year as they looked for an innovative way to raise funds to help upgrade the town’s main street.
“We wanted something a little different,” she said.
Alice said someone suggested sheep races after seeing the concept interstate, so they called organisers of those events to get ideas.
“It was something different for the area that hadn’t been done before,” she said.
“It reflects our agricultural area, but it is also a bit of fun.”
Last year was the first time the races had been run.
“It was a bit of an unknown and we didn’t know if it would be successful,” Alice said.
“We didn’t know how many people to cater for.
“But we were blown away – about 400 people attended and raised more than $11,000.
“We didn’t have a target in mind, we were hoping to clear our expenses.”
The success of the event encouraged them to try again this year.
She said it had been easier to organise for the second year, with them rebooking the elements that worked last year, as well as trialling a few new ideas.
While the organising committee is made up of six women, Alice said the community had really embraced the races.
“People have volunteered to be on the bar, or the ticket roster,” she said.
“It’s really a community event, and for a real range in ages.”
The Booleroo Centre race card includes six basic races, made up of 10 sheep each, run along a 60-metre track, from 12.30pm to 5pm.
To determine the “owners” of each racing sheep, which are supplied by a local grazier, there are raffle tickets sold at $2 each, with 10 people drawn out for each race and allocated a sheep.
These races have prize money of up to $100.
The first and runner-up sheep from each race then go into the final race, with the entrants auctioned off Calcutta-style.
Alice said this had been a big generator of funds for the event, with a bigger prize pool in play.
First place in the final race can win $500.
In between the sheep races, novelty events are held, such as a gumboot or three-legged race.
The day will also include entertainment such as a petting zoo, a bouncing castle, laser skirmish and face painting. This year new events, such as bubble soccer, have been added.
There will also be live music throughout the day and into the night.
Alice said all the money raised would go straight back into the town.
She said a big surprise last year was just how well, and fast, the sheep ran.
“We had two race callers, and they weren’t prepared for how quickly the sheep went,” she said.
The sheep races will be held on April 8 at the Booleroo Centre Oval. Entry is a gold coin donation, with proceeds going to the Rural Flying Doctor Service.
- Details: facebook.com/pg/Booleroo-Centre-Sheep-Races-45867556098882