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Lightning Ridge, NSW Easter Weekend, Wheelie Bin Races and Goats?

lightningridge_amigos2_230x132.jpg This is a picture of Amigo’s Castle in Lightning Ridge. Quirky and independent, Lightning Ridge has long been known as a… ahem…shall we say…unique place? I’ve been told by one long time resident of Wellington that Byron Bay used to be considered drop out country but now it was just a big tourist spot. He went on to say that Lightning Ridge is the current “Drop out country- the place you go to avoid the sheriff and alimony.” Another man from Wellington told me that Lightening Ridge is the place hippies now live. “Rich hippies, that’s all the world needs.” He was a chipper fellow that one.
Opal mining, artesian thermal springs and a whole lot of nothin’ keep the locals happy and the visitors coming back. I’m about to go fdiscover why for myself over the Easter Long Weekend. April 6-9th Lightning Ridge becomes host to their very famous Goat Races. In addition to goat races, the Visitors Center has just informed me that there are wheelie bin races too! I am sooooooo entering! There is also a Rodeo, Waste-to-Art exhibit, Buskers Competition, golf and bowls all designed to provide merriment and frivolity for both locals and visitors. Check out their tourism website for further information. I’ll write more later when I get back from…dun dun dun duNNNNNNNN…Lightening Ridge!
An excerpt on the Race:
“It starts out with 3 heats of novice, or feral goats pulling racing gigs complete with jockeys. It is a sight to behold, as the street is lined with several thousand spectators all having placed bets on their favorite beasts.
The Novice goat races are the most popular, as they generally create a fair amount of spectator involvement. The starter stands behind the row of the 6 ferals, all nervously lined up in the racing gigs, with the jockeys proudly adorned in racing silks, and facing up the main street from the Opal Cave end towards the Diggers Rest Pub. The moment the loud starter’s gun goes off right behind them, the handlers release the horns of these great feral goats and dive for safety, while the startled goats take off at incredible speed.
Unfortunately, they tend to not understand the purpose of the exercise and head off, not towards the finishing line but in all directions. Luckily, the spectators are protected by heavy plastic safety netting”