Nick saddles up for a bucking good time

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto is raising funds for local charity Audrey’s Angels of Hope. If he reaches $1000, he will ride a bull at next month’s Ingham Sugar City Rodeo

NORTH Queensland’s fittest pollie is set to risk his life on top of an angry bull for a good cause at next month’s Ingham Sugar City Rodeo.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he couldn’t believe he had been “roped into the deal” but if the community dug deep to help him raise at least $1000 for local cancer support charity Audrey’s Angels of Hope, he would get on the bull.

The Katter’s Australian Party MP said if he hit his fundraising target, he would need “divine intervention” to help him stay on a beast at Ingham Showgrounds.

“The pros can hold on for up to eight seconds. I’ll be lucky if I last two and don’t get stomped on,” he joked.

“I’m actually pretty concerned for my welfare but it’s all for a good cause that helps some of our community’s cancer patients.”

After being approached to do a charity bull ride by Rodeo Secretary Monique Devitt, Mr Dametto said it was an easy decision to pick Audrey’s Angels.

“Audrey’s Angels is a charity that has helped countless cancer sufferers and their families in North Queensland by providing crucial financial, emotional and social support,” he said.

“Their compassion for those affected by this disease is inspirational and an example to us all. A bull ride is nothing compared to what these families go through.”
Audrey’s Angels of hope President and co-founder Gracie Cooper said all of the charity’s funds are used to either ease the financial burden for cancer sufferers and their families or to allow them to enjoy “some down time”.

“We try to make people’s bucket lists become reality,” she said.

“We send families away for a little weekend break and we cover all expenses so there is nothing for them to pay so they can concentrate on making beautiful memories with their loved ones.

“We also will help with household costs or pay for yard clean-ups or house cleaning if we can’t physically do those things ourselves.

“In addition, we offer financial support with some bills and ongoing expenses like groceries and fuel, as usually the person with cancer is unable to work and this puts a strain on the family budget. With a little help from us they don’t have that stress.”

Ms Cooper who herself has suffered from cancer, said the charity’s name was inspired by her sister Audrey and her battle with the disease.

“When my sister Audrey had stomach cancer, we noticed some very important things that she needed to help her through each day and the financial support that was lacking,” she said.

“This then gave us the idea to form our own charity that could help Townsville and Ingham and surrounding areas with the little things in life that aren’t covered by the Cancer Council or any other organisations locally.

“Our motto is we are here for the whole journey from when they are first diagnosed until the end, whatever that may be.”
Mrs Devitt said the Rodeo previously donated $1000 to Audrey’s Angels last year and looked forward to seeing a similar effort with Mr Dametto’s fundraiser.

“If he reaches his target, Nick will be our first pollie on a bull but we’re very excited to see how he goes,” she said.

“Fingers crossed he makes it out safely and if all goes well he could turn it into a weekend hobby.”

Centred at Ingham Showgrounds’ newly-established Multipurpose Sports Arena that was jointly funded by Hinchinbrook Shire Council and the State Government, Mrs Devitt said the Rodeo committee was “pulling out all the stops to make this year’s event one not to be forgotten”.

“We have our own personalised Ingham Sugar City Rodeo fishing shirts for sale and the event will feature the King of the Cane Fields being held on the Friday night as well as 35+ Bull Ride,” she said.

“Saturday will open at 7am with our Horse Sports event and then follow into the day/night with a Mini Bull Ride and another 35+ Bull Ride.

“It will be an action-packed weekend with plenty of fun for the whole family.”

To donate to Mr Dametto’s fundraiser, click here.

The Ingham Sugar City Rodeo will be held over September 6 and 7 at Ingham Showgrounds. For more information, click here.

Nick Dametto MP