The Great Wheelbarrow Race
In 2002, I was lucky enough to be involved with a promotion body for the Chillagoe region west of Cairns when it was decided that the road between Mareeba and Chillagoe would be named the Wheelbarrow Way with intentions of further developing themes and points of interest to encourage tourists to make the long journey to the lesser known destination of Chillagoe and the stage was set for the introduction of Great wheelbarrow race.
At an October 2003 meeting of the Chillagoe Tourism Operators Group, members were asked for suggestions as to how to promote the Wheelbarrow Way. A Wheelbarrow Race was suggested and immediately accepted. It is doubtful if those at the meeting would’ve expected the concept to be so successful but to the credit of all involved, this 140km event held every May has grown to over 450 competitors (2013). There are many categories with some teams participating for a ‘fun time’ experience while others are deadly serious, pushing identical empty Kelso wheelbarrows in a relay routine with the odd solo entrant. Starting is often staggered to try and ensure most reach the finish line at the same time but as energy levels drop over the 3-day event, this isn’t always as successful in reality as it is on paper. It’s expected this event will continue to grow to become one of Australia’s premier events attracting international competitors.
The event is held over 3 days, starting at Mareeba and finishing in Chillagoe with stop over’s at Dimbulah and Almaden and is the biggest event held in Almaden for the whole year with 2,000 people descending on the small outback town that usually has a population of about 50. Dimbulah also welcomes the race after the demise of the tobacco industry in the late 90’s
Further information can be found at http://www.greatwheelbarrowrace.com/
or have a look at the Perentie Tours home page