The Bingara Buster Festival committee met last week and due to insufficient applications for stall sites and very low entries for the Bingara Buster they decided not to progress with the event this year.
The race was designed to be similar to a King of the Mountain event, with the competitors running 3km from Cunningham Park to the top of the HF Batterham Memorial lookout. The race was intended for elite runners with $5,000 prize money up for grabs.
In addition to the main event, it was planned to hold a 5km fun run, a 4 by 500m relay event and an orienteering race. It was intended that a Body and Soul Festival would be held in conjunction with the Bingara Buster promoting a health and well-being theme. The two ideas were merged with the desired aim to feed off one another and ultimately boost the attendance for the event.
The Committee’s goal was to create an annual event, with the Buster becoming a nationally recognised race. The Committee reached an agreement with Council that unless they could guarantee financial viability, so that the event could stand alone beyond 2017, it would not be staged.
Event organiser Duncan Thain stated that “exposure for the event was huge. We sent out 350 letters to different athletics clubs around Australia and also had advertised on running websites, Facebook and had our own website which had generated over 7000 hits.”
“We believe we could have pulled the Buster Festival together if there was the opportunity and sponsorship to carry the costs for 2 to 3 years. We even looked at downsizing the event but it still was going to run at a loss,” Mr Thain said.
Mr Thain continued on to say that he was disappointed that the event would not be running in March, but they have not given up on the concept of bringing something like the Buster and Body and Soul Festival to Gwydir.
“Hopefully someone will pick up from where we are now and capitalise on the substantial ground work which has been made possible with support from Council,” he concluded.