New Hay Bale Challenge to include entire shire

The B2B bike race has always been a hard sell in Blayney, but with the event no longer starting here the future of the popular Hay Bale Challenge that ran at the same time has been under a cloud.

Developed by landholders along the bike race route to bring a touch of the Tour de France down-under, the Hay Bale Challenge has taken on a life of its own, attracting visitors from far and wide.

One of the initiators of the challenge, Tamara Miller, said they developed the idea to counter some of the negativity from the community regarding the race.

READ MORE:

"We wanted to engage the whole community in the race event and put a positive spin on it," she said.

The challenge has been so successful throughout its four year history that Blayney Shire Council has made the decision to continue with the event, even without the B2B, and there is one major change.

Free from the constraints of the old B2B route, the challenge will now be extended throughout the shire.

Manager Tourism and Communications at Blayney council Megan Rodd said that the challenge had huge community support throughout the region and was extremely popular on social media.

"It really has turned into its own event and it has a fair greater appeal than just those on the B2B," she said.

"There are nursing homes that come out by the bus loads and the schools get really involved with it."

In previous years those that joined the challenge, but were outside of the B2B route, chose not to submit entries for prizes, now Ms Rodd wants them all, and more, to do so next year.

"We're encouraging people to ensure they submit their entry forms to be included in the competition and the map in 2020," she said.

Cr David Kingham said that the challenge brings a lot of money and people to town.

"It's really a tourist mecca for Blayney," he said.

"It's something we've created, it's unique and it's something we want to carry on with."

Although the location of the challenge is flexible, Ms Rodd said that the timing will likely be at much the same time.

"Now that people know when it is, it fits well into the calendar," she said

"One of the suggestions is that we make it so that it finishes on the same weekend of the Blayney Show."