BEGA Chamber of Commerce president Mal Barnes urged more businesses in Bega to remain open between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the future to reap the benefits of the Bega Showjumping Cup.
“Personally, it’s a great time for my business and I urge any other businesses closed in this period to really think about opening,” he said.
Mr Barnes owns and operates Mal’s Pizza on Carp St in Bega and said the business experiences an upsurge in orders from Cup participants staying at the nearby Bega Showground.
“The Bega Showjumping Cup is growing every year, we’ve definitely noticed more and more people from this event in town,” Mr Barnes said.
“They need to eat, they want to shop and Bega businesses should definitely take advantage of this.”
Cup organiser Kirsty McPaul said entries were up 35 per cent on 2011, with 180 riders and their families arriving in town for the event, as well as a growing number of spectators.
The Cup is now in its 17th year and, due to the popularity of the event, this year organisers added an extra day to the program.
“The Cup runs from December 27 until the 30th and most people start arriving Boxing Day,” Ms McPaul said.
“Riders come from Canberra and Sydney, and we had three trucks from Queensland arrive on Christmas Eve.
“They are staying at the showground so they shop and eat locally, so the more places that stay open the better.”
The Snowy Mountains Showjumping Festival is held straight after the Bega event, with a flotilla of horse trailers travelling along the Snowy Mountains Hwy to Cooma’s sold out competition.
Along the way, participants stopped at Bemboka and Nimmitabel, with cafes in those towns staying open, something Mr Barnes hoped will happen in Bega in the future.
“In the holiday period Bega is a stopping point for tourists, but then they move on to Merimbula and Tathra, and are spending their money in those areas,” he said.
“But with the Showjumping Cup, these people are staying in Bega for the duration of the event and are really bringing money into the town.”