The future of the annual King of the Mountain race at Pomona is uncertain.
The future of the annual King of the Mountain race at Pomona is uncertain. Che Chapman

King of the Mountain in jeopardy

IN 1958, a man bet he could run Mount Cooroora in under an hour and bet the local barflies 100 pounds that it would take him less than 60 minutes.

Two years later the Pomona King of the Mountain race was born.

Now the race has run non-stop since 1979, but this year Sunshine Coast Council decided that the race wasn’t worth a $5000 grant.

People involved with the hinterland race say being knocked back on the grant will not jeopardise this year’s race, but have worried about the consequences that are on the horizon.

Michael Egan has been involved with the race for the past four years and the group had always budgeted for a portion of funding from council that this year was not granted, however a square-dancing group and a carols by candlelight event did secure funding.

“This year’s race is assured,” Mr Egan said.

“But it puts next year’s event in jeopardy in its current form.”

He said between $70,000 and $80,000 went into the annual race, but every dollar counted because it was used to fund advertising, and keep the day free for Coast families.

“There's very little profit there because we make it a family fun day.

“This is the major event in the hinterland and between 12,000 and 14,000 people come to town for it.”

While council rejected the proposal from King of the Mountain, in the same round of funding it granted $12,000 to the Eumundi Live Music Festival, $25,000 for the 2010 Festival of Walks in the Blackall Range.

The Suncoasters Square Dance Club project was given $4891 to bring accredited square dance callers to Australia to help update the skills of local callers and dancers.

Mr Egan will now be pushing at a council meeting on Monday to be given $2000 for the cause.

Council, despite funding the event in past years, had decided that the event should have reached financial independence on its 31st birthday. But a spokesperson from council said it was the event’s history that made it a less worthy candidate for funding.

“Lower priority is given to events that have received funding previously for like events,” she said.

“The panel decided that because the King of the Mountain race is an ongoing event with a high profile, organisers could investigate other ways to generate income.”

However, she said, council did recognise the King of the Mountain was a valued event in the community with a 31-year history.

Council officers will meet with organisers on Monday to discuss alternative funding sources.

This may include the event applying for a council grant of up to $2000.

Gympie Times


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