Bull rider declares Orange's rodeo arena's not up to scratch

MORE MUST BE DONE: John Crasti is rallying for upgrades at Orange Showgrounds

MORE MUST BE DONE: John Crasti is rallying for upgrades at Orange Showgrounds

IT has been nearly two years since Forest Reefs bull rider John Crasti sustained a life-changing injury at a rodeo in Orange, yet the arena where he had the accident is yet to receive vital upgrades he says it needs.

On October 27, 2012, shortly after Mr Crasti sat on top of a 680kg bull, the animal fell back, crushing him.

He was left a quadriplegic.

Mr Crasti is determine to see the rodeo arena facilities at Orange Showground upgraded to ensure no one else is hurt there. 

“Everything there needs an overhaul, the chutes are atrocious,” he said.

“Things need to be upgraded bit by bit.”

Mr Crasti said he’d been riding bulls for four years before his accident and the chutes in Orange were among the worst he’d seen.

The footing behind the chutes where the support crews stand, were also inadequate, he said.

“There just wasn’t enough support there for someone to have been able to grab me when the bull flipped,” he said. 

Mr Crasti said while he expected the upgrades to be costly, he wanted to see at least some of them introduced before the East to West Coast Rodeo Championships in Orange on October 18.

“Even last year when I was at the rodeo it hurt me to see a few of my mates get back on the chute,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s real good at all.”

Mr Crasti said he would continue to campaign for upgrades at the site while running his new business, a mechanical bull ride for hire.

“It keeps me in the loop, there’s not much else I can do in the sport, so this keeps me involved in the sport,” he said.

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said council had been working with showground user-groups to gradually upgrade the quality of facilities within an available budget.

Mr Reeder said work had already been undertaken to paint historic buildings. 

“Work is progressing towards the major project of the large new multi-use building and a DA is expected to be lodged in the coming months,” he said.

“Deciding which item should get the priority on a long list of possible spending is a tough process for the user-groups.

“The city council can appreciate John Crasti’s passion to push for improvements at the rodeo yard, and the option for better gates is on the list. 

“At this stage, when weighing up the other places money could be spent, it hasn’t made it to a spending plan.”

Mr Reeder said council had also been working with a local community group to upgrade the campdrafting facilities.

“Last year the council supplied materials and the groups provided labour to bring that facility into line with recent standard changes required by that sport’s governing body,” he said.



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