JOHN ‘Happy’ Gill of The Rock has long been a champion of rodeo.
Now he is a champion of the Sydney Royal Easter Show as well.
It is a feat that he has earned through years of support to what is commonly referred to as Australia’s finest outdoor show.
During the Royal Easter Show this year the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of NSW will award Mr Gill with the champion of the RAS honour.
Each year the RAS acknowledges individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the event over the years.
All 15 recipients will be celebrated at a private function at 3.00pm, Friday, March, 30. Mr Gill said this was an award he was proud to receive because it had such a broad reach.
It also acknowledged the work of his late wife Margaret and her tireless efforts to take the ponies to Sydney.
Gills are known for their achievements in the rodeo sector but Mrs Gill was also a champion in her own right and she was the mastermind behind the pony rides at the show each year which dated back to 1981.
I am also extremely proud that the pony rides have won more awards over the years for the best children’s ride exhibit than any other ride.John 'Happy' Gill
Mr Gill’s connection with the Sydney Royal Easter Show spans 70 years.
“I keep coming back to the Show because of the people you run into from all parts of Australia, it’s where the bush meets the city,” Mr Gill said.
“One of my proudest memories of the Show happened last year when my bull ‘High Flying Akubra’ scored 91 points, the highest ever score at the Show,” he said.
“I am also extremely proud that the pony rides have won more awards over the years for the best children’s ride exhibit than any other ride.” he said. However, when reminiscing about the event Mr Gill said his proudest memory dated back to the 1940s.
At the time he watched his father and uncle ride against the Canadians and Americans in the rodeo along with the likes of Lance Skuthorpe.
RAS president, Robert Ryan said the contribution of Mr Gill epitomises everything the show is about.
Mr Ryan said it was Australia’s biggest celebration of country people, their practices and produce.