Helping strike blow against homophobia

THERE'S nothing Dermot Ryan loves more than that sinking feeling.

Every time a child managed to hit the small steel target next to the ACON Northern Rivers manager's precarious seat and sent him splashing into a giant bucket of water, he felt he had struck a blow against homophobia and the violence behind incidents such as the savage attack in April on Sean Rich at Ballina. And besides, it was a lot of fun.

“Obviously there's a political message about trying to eliminate hate-based crimes,” Mr Ryan said, moments before 10-year-old Breanna Ballinger, of Goonellabah, sent him splashing into the bucket with a well-aimed sequined purse.

“Some of the kids who have been able to dunk us - by hitting the target or just pushing it - the smiles on their faces have been fantastic.”

Breanna, who just happened to be passing the dunking stall with mum Shayne Rose when The Northern Star stopped by yesterday, has a gay uncle and aunt and has strong views on the issue.

“It's okay for gay people to be gay, because it's just normal, they are just normal and there's nothing wrong with being gay,” she said.

Tropical Fruits chairman Shane Duniam said the stall had already received strong community support, with a local pool shop donating chlorine for the bucket and a sports shop offering discounted baseballs to throw at it.

Show highlights
9.30am: Beef cattle judging, Cattle Ring
9am: Junior showjumping, Sporting Arena
10am: School performances, Community Stage
1pm : Woodchops, Woodchops Arena 5.30pm: Fire rescue demonstration, Main Arena
6.45pm: Kamilaroi Trick Riders, Main Arena
7pm: Cirque Couture, Ashton's Big Top
7pm: Summerland V8 dirt modified speedway car demonstration, Main Arena
7.15pm: Freestyle MotoX, Main Arena
7.30pm: Chad Morgan, The Cock and Bull Tent
7.45pm: Hooves of Thunder, Main Arena
8.30pm: Fireworks Spectacular, Main Arena
8.45pm: Battle of the Bands, Community Stage
9pm: The Samba Blisstas, The Cock and Bull Tent
9.15pm: Giggling Goose Comedy Lounge, The Cock and Bull Tent

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