Casino's Beef Week plea on national TV
By JANE GARDNER
THE nation was treated to an endangered spectacle early yesterday, as the people of Casino turned out in droves to appear on Channel Seven's Sunrise program.
Their message: C'mon Australia, help save Beef Week! Hundreds of locals lined Walker Street with placards, dressed in cow-themed outfits, and handing out free snags.
Former Beef Queens Nicole Reeves (1998) and Belinda Dockrill (1997) proudly promoted the threatened festival to bubbly host Monique Wright during a live-to-air weather cross.
Belinda explained the funds-starved event was a celebration of the lifeblood of her community.
"If we didn't have the beef industry, what would Casino be?" she asked.
"It is great Sunrise is here. Anything that promotes Beef Week is a good thing."
Some of the best-known Beef Week icons made a return, including the famous balloon-covered Mini Moke, the Casino Public School band, whip crackers, cattle and, of course, the cow pat lotto ? to the delight of the amused Sunrise crew.
Long-time Beef Week advocate Brenda Armfield hammed it up for the cameras.
"I love Beef Week. I love the people and I love Casino," she told the nation.
Meanwhile, Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox was clearly impressed with the turn-out.
"Everyone here is saying 'We want Beef Week'. It's incredible for a small rural town like this to get Australia-wide coverage," he said.
"Now the country knows how much spirit is in this town. I think city people will become curious and even jealous of us."
Beef Week Steering Committee member Barry Martin said rising insurance costs and lack of volunteers had forced the cancellation of Beef Week 2007.
"Our hearts were there, but the dollars weren't," he said. "You can't pay bills with your heart.
"What we need is big corporate backing and more volunteers. This is our last round. We've gotta win this one, or that's it."