COMMUNITY GENEROSITY: Jeff Cook (President), Elise Lawrence (Treasurer) handing over a cheque to SmashSMARD representatives and fellow committee members Dean Williams & Crystal Watson.
COMMUNITY GENEROSITY: Jeff Cook (President), Elise Lawrence (Treasurer) handing over a cheque to SmashSMARD representatives and fellow committee members Dean Williams & Crystal Watson. Contributed

Clermont produces massive donation

LOCATED 18km north of Clermont, the Blair Athol Bush Sport's annual Rodeo, Campdraft & Gymkhana once again provided plenty of action over the May Day long weekend.

Back from a 3 day draft to a 2 day event, all nominations were strong & the quality of competitors both in the Campdraft & Rodeo provided the usual high level of entertainment.

This year the event had a different feel to it. After committee members Dean Williams & Crystal Watson lost their baby boy Jovi at just 7 weeks of age to the extremely rare disease SMARD back in January, the committee was determined to raise much needed funds to go towards the research to help find a cure for this cruel disease.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy with Respiratory Distress (SMARD) is a neuromuscular genetic disease with only around 100 known cases in the world.

While the Blair Athol Bush Sports committee is small in numbers, their passion is strong and from a very successful weekend they were able to donate $10,000 to SMARD Research.

On top of this & with the support of the Clermont community a charity auction was also held on the Saturday night raising an additional $35,670 making the total donation from the weekend a massive $45,670.

Blair Athol Bush Sports President, Jeff Cook, hoped the money raised can help a family that will come across this problem down the road.

"We all felt so helpless when Jovi died & while it does not change what has happened, our contribution could potentially help save the life of someone else's child,”Mr Cook said.

"The generosity that came out from our community was overwhelming.”

The weekend kicked off with the Rodeo on the Friday night, Campdraft & Gymkhana Saturday and Campdraft Sunday.

Saturday saw them only just get the campdraft finished before a storm hit, which unfortunately meant the motorbike events had to be cancelled but it certainly didn't dampen the spirits of all those who were there to support the SMARD Auction.

The Burnett Family, Clermont once again provided quality stock for the draft which made competition fierce.

Jason Comiskey took out the Clermont Livestock Open Draft on Monika, over Robert Durkin.

"Each year our committee financially gives back to our local community in some way,” Mr Cook said.

"This year our contribution was close to our hearts which I think always makes you push a little bit harder to make the weekend a success,” Mr Cook concluded.


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