Press Release: Darkan Sheepfest Does It Again and Does It for Dolly

Darkan event demonstrates it’s about more than just living in a community; it is in fact belonging to one.

Darkan Sheepfest was recently held in the Shire of West Arthur, and it is continuing to be the talk of the town.  What set out to be a small event in 2018 that promoted the local sheep and wool industry and tourism for the Shire has now evolved into bringing the whole community together.  This was acknowledged by visitors who wished the same for their own home towns.  This winning formula will now continue for Darkan Sheepfest in 2020.

With over 1000 people having passed through the gate by early afternoon, the Darkan Sheepfest committee could not be happier with this year’s outcome.

Nathan King, Darkan Sheepfest Chairperson –

“Whilst these events do take a lot of time and effort to run, it has all been worth it.  We have a small steering committee but ultimately the volunteering from the overall community is what has made it another success.”

The Darkan Sheepfest program continued with the popular 2018 program which included the sport shear competition, ewe hogget competition and free children’s entertainment, however three new headline events really got the media buzzing in the lead up to the day and in which thoroughly entertained the crowds on the day.

Margaret River resident Ann Wright commented – 

“This is my second time at Darkan Sheepfest.  I have been to many shows over the years and have worked in customer service most of my life and I can tell you that country people are the best kind of people you will ever come across.  If you and your family and friends live in the city, take the time to travel out to these small towns and go to their shows.  I can honestly say, you will want to keep coming back.”

Whilst one farmer who is resting up a hamstring injury may no longer be a fan; the Farmer vs Footballer Farm Boot Foot Race was a crowd favourite.  Dan South (18) and Mackenzie Goss (16) proved what most of the locals already knew – that farmers do really run faster in farm boots.

The Young Farmer Challenge has now officially made a resurgence in WA, having been held at Dowerin Field Days and now at Darkan Sheepfest.  A very popular tradition in the Eastern States, the hope is for other WA towns to now come on board and then perhaps see which town has the state’s best Young Farmers.

Darkan Sheepfest makes a point of ensuring the whole day is about fun and being affordable for the whole family.  But there was one special activity that came with a serious note and a request for a few dollars.

‘Dunk for Dolly’ saw the use of an old-fashioned dunk tank and involved a few very brave local identities volunteering to be dunked, to not only raise money but more importantly to raise awareness of Dolly’s Dream.

A spokesperson from the Dolly’s Dream Foundation stated –

“Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, aged 14, who took her own life after an extended period of bullying and cyberbullying.  Dolly left behind her parents Tick and Kate and her sister Meg, who are now focused on using the money that has been kindly donated by the community to help prevent other families from going through the same devastating experience.  With the generous support of people all over Australia, they are raising awareness about the serious issue of bullying and its devastating effects and providing assistance and support to children affected by bullying. By supporting Dolly’s Dream, you are helping to prevent the lives of other children being lost and acting as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Supporting Dolly’s Dream evolved from the aim of involving more youth in Darkan Sheepfest and they came along in droves.  Generally, most teenagers would avoid situations that make them stand out in a crowd.  The youth of Darkan Sheepfest are to be commended for how they represented not only themselves but also their community.  From pulling on a pair of farm boots and doing a mad dash, to the challenge of lugging heavy farm gates in the Young Farmer Challenge and even parading around in a fair few woollen pom-poms whilst strutting the catwalk – they all did this with their heads held high.

Whilst the youth were well represented at Darkan Sheepfest, so were the older and younger generations.  Miss Laila, 3 years old, strutting her stuff on the catwalk, and Mr Dew, 83 years young, directing traffic to parking areas, made a fine example that it doesn’t matter what age you are – you can always Act, Belong, Commit.  Many comments from visitors reflected that Darkan Sheepfest not only catered for all ages but embraced volunteers of all ages.

Kylie Whitaker, Laila’s mother remarked –

“Having not grown up in Darkan, I love that my children can be involved in this community.   It is so important from a young age to learn about volunteering.   But with that, comes the personal benefits that kids get back from helping others.  It certainly rings true that it takes a whole village to raise a child, in our case this town is helping raise our three!”

As the show came to an end, a town full of locals and visitors all stood around a bar built out of a grain silo, and chatted about the wool and sheep industry, whilst enjoying the sun going down.  Darkan Sheepfest was a day well spent, a night to remember, and left everyone with a sense of belonging as they all headed for home.

For further information or other high-res images please contact Karlene Goss on 0428 361 366.

 

 

 

 

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  1. The hard-working Dunking Crew Sam Burgess and Leigh Studsor
  2. The youth of Darkan participating in the Young Farmer Challenge and pushing the positive message to Act Belong Commit in your community!
  3. Miss Laila, 3 years old, and Mr Dew, 83 years young, made a fine example that it doesn’t matter what age – you can always Act,Belong, Commit.
  4. Local young farmer, Dan South, winner of the Farm Boot Foot Race and Dan Chia have been running rivals since Darkan Primary Schooldays, but they have never raced in farm boots before!

 

 

 

 

2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors

Press Release: Darkan Sheepfest to ‘Dunk for Dolly’

17th January 2019

Darkan community supports Dolly’s Dream to break down bullying with dunk tank fun.

Darkan Sheepfest has earned the reputation of being a ‘good old fashioned, fun and safe country show for the whole family’.  Sadly there are some families in Australia whose children don’t feel safe and aren’t having fun.

This time last year, Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, a 14 year old country girl from the NT, took her own life.  It is unimaginable to think of the grief parents feel when losing a child; but it is incomprehensible to learn that it was due to the bullying and cyber bullying by somebody else’s child.  In Dolly’s own words it is now time to “Speak, Even if Your Voice Shakes.”

Local health professional and Darkan Sheepfest committee person Pam Stockley explains the decision to support Dolly’s Dream –

“Last year Darkan Sheepfest raised a considerable amount of money for Black Dog Ride but more importantly it created a high level of awareness for their organisation on the actual day and through the media.  Given our focus this year was to engage youth more at our show, it made sense to have a charity that had a focus on youth mental health.  It was unanimous that Dolly’s Dream was just the right one.”

Darkan Sheepfest will be held on Saturday 9th February 2019 commencing at 9.30am.  There are two new headline events being held – the inaugural Farmer vs Footballer Farm Boot Foot Race and the Young Farmer Challenge.  Last year’s popular events, the Sport Shear and Ewe Hogget Competitions, will be held again.  But the “Dunk for Dolly” Dunk Tank will no doubt be a very special and memorable event.

Duncan South, Chief Fire Control Officer for the Shire of West Arthur, local farmer and father of three is more than happy to be ‘dunked’ for this important cause.

“Our children are very precious to us.  We want them to feel confident about coming to us with their problems so that we can help to resolve them.  We also hope that their friends will come to us if they notice that there is something wrong.  Communication between family, friends and community will hopefully protect and help our children.”

Local Darkan teenager and boarding student Odette Telfer, 15, loves nothing more than spending time with her family and friends –

“I couldn’t imagine life without my beautiful friends and family, their love and support means a lot to me.  Dolly is a heartbreaking reminder that we need to take care of each other and be compassionate.  You never look good trying to make someone else look bad.”

Another way to combat bullying is through early education.  Eloisa Goss, Darkan Primary School Principal and recent finalist in the WA Department of Education Awards, is a strong advocate for the safety and well-being of children.

“It is important that we all know what bullying is and that we all understand what constitutes bullying. The ‘National Definition of Bullying’ in Australian schools allow us to develop this common understanding.  We use the Department of Education’s ‘Protective Behaviours’ program to help our children strengthen their ability to keep themselves safe and minimise risks. There are many personal safety issues that our children are exposed to and we are now more aware of the physical and emotional trauma of bullying and cyber bullying.  It is important our children develop personal safety and resilience skills.  You can start by simply talking at home with your children, helping them identify and understand their feelings.”

Darkan Sheepfest will once again provide free entertainment for children with only a gold coin entry fee.  There will also be a Sundowner to bring Sheepfest to a close with a bar, aptly named the ‘Baa!’ and band until 10pm.  High resolution images can be provided for publication.

For all media enquiries please contact Karlene Goss 0428361366 or admin@darkansheepfest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 1 Pam Stockley, committee member of Darkan Sheepfest, says the community will be proud to support Dolly’s Dream at this year’s event

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 2 Locals are keen to ‘dunk Dunc!’ – Shire of West Arthur Chief Control Fire Officer, Duncan South, for a good cause

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 3 Darkan Primary School Principal, Eloisa Goss, is passionate about making children feel safe

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 4 Local teenager, Odette Telfer and friends wanting all teenagers to ‘Speak Up’ about bullying

 

 

 

 

2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors

Press Release: Darkan Sheepfest to hold Farm Boot Foot Race

29 November 2018

Who Is Faster: A Farmer or A Footballer?!

Did you know that a farmer can move very fast when they’ve nearly finished drafting a mob of sheep in the sheep yards and suddenly realise they have forgotten to shut the gate? Surely, their mad dash would rival any footy player’s sprint on the footy field?! Well it’s all set to be proven at Darkan Sheepfest 2019!

Darkan, in the Shire of West Arthur, held an inaugural, and very successful, grassroots country show in February this year and plans are well and truly underway for the next Darkan Sheepfest to be held on Saturday Feb 9, 2019.

The draw-card event will be the inaugural ‘Farm Boot Foot Race’ – think mini ‘Stawell Gift’ but with the added degree of difficulty in having to run in farm boots! Most importantly, however, competitors will need to nominate whether they are running as a farmer or a footballer. Farm work clothes and your favourite footy team jumper is completely optional!

As far as the Darkan Sheepfest committee knows, there has never been a ‘Farmer vs Footballer’ race quite like it. Although it is well known of the legendary Cliff Young, the 61 year old NSW dairy farmer, who won the ‘Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon’ by training in his farm gumboots – but that was a shuffle at best, not a sprint!

Paul Duffield, ex-Fremantle Dockers player, coach of the local football team and Darkan sheep farmer has given his full support for Darkan Sheepfest and is also keen to compete in the Farm Boot Foot Race –

“I think it is a great idea and should be a bit of fun. Pre-season training is always hard
to get the boys motivated, but with the Farm Boot Foot Race having some cash prizes,
it should certainly give a bit of incentive for the guys to get fit before next footy season starts. The difficult part for me is deciding whether to compete as a farmer or a footballer, because I am both!”

The agricultural industry has seen some tough times this year, with drought in some parts of WA as well as in NSW and Qld and ironically in the same year some WA crop farmers being wiped out by frost.

Ray Harrington, Shire of West Arthur President, recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for ‘Service to Primary Industry’ and most recently earning the title of Australian Farming Legend of the Year is excited to see Darkan Sheepfest continue –

“It is more important than ever to remain positive and support our farmers and businesses linked to the agricultural industry. I have been passionate about farming all my life and any event that promotes what we do and gives the rest of the population a chance to experience sheep and wool is a great initiative. I am looking forward to being there and being a part of the day.”

A big part of wool and sheep farming is the younger generation choosing an education in agriculture which enables them to come back and commence working on farms with a full set of skills and

experiences. These skills will be showcased in a ‘Young Farmer Challenge’ demonstration, also a new feature of the Darkan Sheepfest’s 2019 event program.

Young Darkan local and 2018 Head Girl of Cunderdin Agricultural College, Bonnie Telfer, is looking forward to the challenge –

“I have competed twice in the Farm Skills competition at the Perth Royal Show and look forward toparticipatingintheYoungFarmerChallengeatthenextDarkanSheepfest. Competitions like this give young people interested in the agricultural industry a chance to build and demonstrate their practical farming skills. I think it will add to the great atmosphere at the Darkan Sheepfest and get more young people involved.”

As well as the Darkan Sheepfest adding several new and exciting events to the program, you will still enjoy the sport shear competition, wool fashions parades, sheepdog show and be able to cool off on all the waterslides. But ultimately it will still have that good old country show feel that everybody will not stop talking about for a long time after.

Darkan Sheepfest Chairperson Nathan King sums up –

“Having been born and raised into the sheep and wool way of life, it’s easy to appreciate the lifestyle we have. But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself by visiting the West Arthur Shire. Working in the industry helps you realise that we are truly part of such a great source of food and fibre for the world. Areas like Darkan are some of the best places in the world in producing these vital commodities; we have a great history of sheep and wool. Come and spend a day in the country alongside our farmers, shearers and inventors at Darkan Sheepfest and find out where the wool story begins.”

The best part is, Darkan Sheepfest entry fee is still only a gold coin donation due to the generous support of all our sponsors including our Supreme Sponsors Darkan Agri Services, Byfields Business Advisers, Elders and Collie & Districts Community Bank.

For all media enquiries please contact Karlene Goss on 0428 361 366 or admin@darkansheepfest.com.au Images below in preview size only. High resolution images can be made available for publishing on request.

2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors