Thunderbolts Festival 22 + 29 October

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It’s on again…Don’t miss this year’s Thunderbolts Festival in Uralla 22 & 29 October!

What’s happening at the rear of the Top Pub?

At 4pm on Saturday, October 22nd, the Uralla Rough Stock Rodeo kicks off the festivities.  This is a popular part of Thunderbolts Festival and, in its fifth year, is now an annual event. At the back of the Top Pub, the tight arena gets patrons up close and personal to the action. The event offers big prize money and draws cowboys from far and wide for 4 – 5 hours of wild rides. Transforming the area at the back of the Top Pub is a logistical nightmare for Matt and Leigh Campbell and the rodeo committee, although it creates some fascination with Uralla locals. The excitement of the day makes the couple of weeks to set up and a day to pull down, all worthwhile.

Is the rodeo a fundraising event?

Like most small committees, events are a way of putting something back into our community and not just about entertainment. The Uralla Thunderbolt Rodeo is no exception and is partnered with Friends of McMaughs, another volunteer group who work closely with the local aged care centre, McMaugh Gardens. The success of the rodeo can be measured through the generosity of the community and sponsors, over past years, raising funds for various special projects managed by Friends of McMaughs. On the day there will be BBQ and bar facilities. For further information, contact Dave on 0487 765 229.

Are there some changes for Thunderbolts Festival?

Thunderbolts Festival will be held Saturday 29th October, in conjunction with the Oxley Riders’, Bail Up Poker Run. A recent addition to the event is the support of The Rotary Club of Uralla, who are now the auspicing organisation. According to Club Services Officer Carol Barnden, when the Thunderbolts Festival committee first approached The Rotary Club of Uralla with the idea to help with this annual community event – it seemed to be a great match. Both organisations are not-for-profit volunteer groups whose focus is to support all demographics of our community. The Rotary Club of Uralla is always looking for projects within Uralla and district to support and to cater for the needs of our community.

How does Council support the event?

Uralla Shire Council will continue to be the Overall Major Sponsor of the festival and have pledged this level of support for four years, ensuring the success and the future of the event for the community of Uralla. The idea to commit to the long term financial support of the town’s largest annual, all-volunteer event was conceived by Deputy Mayor Bob Crouch and taken up by the then acting General Manager, Mr George Cowan. When put to the Councillors, there was much debate regarding the finer details of the agreement and a strong positive outcome achieved, such is the forward-thinking Council of Uralla.

Fleet Warbirds pledged their ongoing commitment by again donating a Warbird joyflight as the first prize in the festival raffle. Tickets will be available at the Uralla Street Stall during October and on Saturday 29th Oct. Thunderbolt Inn are the newest major sponsor and have naming rights to the street parade, and they will have a special Pub Grub menu available and the band “Latch” will play until late. Thunderbolt Inn manager Nick has a big night planned and welcomes everyone to come along! The New England Brewery has tastings from 11am, and Saturday Pizza Kitchen will be open from 11:30am.

Is there a horse drawn Cobb & Co Coach at Thunderbolts Festival this year?

Yes, for a full day out, get to Uralla at 10:30am for the massive Thunderbolt Inn Street Parade featuring: Oxley Riders’ – Bail Up Poker Run, Captain Thunderbolt and authentic Cobb & Co Royal Mail Coach!

When gold was discovered in the 1850s, people from all over the world rushed to the diggings, and mining settlements sprang up overnight.  These new towns needed fast and reliable transport. The first Cobb & Co. coach ran on January 30, 1854 carrying mail and passengers from Melbourne to the Forest Creek Diggings, now Castlemaine. The Authentic Australian Cobb & Co. Royal Mail Coach: the Lachlan, will be in Uralla for the festival and available for rides around town a day or two before and at the festival from Alma Park. The Lachlan is an eight passenger coach. It has been fully restored with traditional materials used by the coach builders of the era.

Are there free (or nearly free!) activities for kids again?

Head to Alma Park (entry is FREE) to soak up the live music with Jug Addicts and markets. $2 wristbands can be purchased for access to all the kids’ activities all day, including: bungee trampolines, giant jumping castle and small castle for littlies, inflatable dual slide, merry-go-round and volleyball. There is face painting, the Billycart Derby, hula hoop competition, and heaps of food stalls will be available!

Are the motorbikes a feature of the festival?

Oxley Riders’, Bail Up Poker Run will commence with the street parade at 10:30am and return to Uralla approx 3:30 – 4pm. The Bike and Custom Car Show will be held at the back of the Top Pub, with trophy and prize presentations after the fireworks at 8pm. There will be raffles, prizes, and surprises through the day, with Mr T playing throughout the night.

The Oxley Riders are a not for profit social club based in Walcha, with members in Uralla, Armidale, the Hunter valley, Sydney, Grafton, Wauchope and Southern QLD. Monies raised on the day are donated to Bravehearts, local charities and organisations.

Thunderbolts Festival – there is something for everyone in Uralla! 

Interview with Leanne Cooper.

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