More than 6000 people converged on the Queensland central highlands town of Springsure, population 1100, to attend the Doin’ it for Dolly rodeo. Organised by locals Shannon Bleakley and her partner, Dan Roberts, the event was a response to the tragic suicide of 14-year-old Amy (Dolly) Everett in January this year. Supported by a team of more than 200 volunteers, the event program included all the thrills and spills of a regular rodeo, overlaid with the very serious message of working to prevent bullying in our schools and online. Speakers included 13-year-old Dakota Lee Shaw, a Miss Teen Diamond Australia entrant, who explained that one in four students aged between seven and 14 experiences bullying and 64 per cent of girls are cyber bullied at some stage in their school careers. Others lending their voices to the campaign included Dolly’s cousins, Jayde and Tori Powell, who encouraged the crowd “to speak even when your voice shakes”, Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell and awareness volunteer coordinator Jen Korn. At the end of the day, the rodeo raised more than $175,000 for Dolly’s Dream Foundation, established by Dolly’s family and friends to combat bullying in all its forms. For more information go to facebook.com/dollysdreamaustralia.
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