THERE'S no doubt it's been a difficult time for many people on the land.
And, while much-needed rainfall is not expected to alleviate that problem any time soon, two local groups - Muswellbrook Charity Rodeo (MCR) and Upper Hunter Show Society Inc (UHSS) - are joining forces in the hope of providing a bit of relief for our hard-working farmers.
The Muswellbrook Drought Buster Charity Rodeo will take place at the Muswellbrook Showground on Saturday, October 19.
Best of all; it's totally free - from the entry fee to the entertainment.
"We always run a charity rodeo this time of year," MCR president Brad Singleton said.
"But, we've decided to do something a little different.
"It's been a tough few years for a lot of people, so we thought 'how can we help the community?'
"The explicit purpose of this event is to provide entertainment - for the drought-affected Upper Hunter - at no cost.
"For those to be able to put everything to the back of their minds, and push their worries to the side for one day, would mean so much.
"They can spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends; and enjoy themselves.
"We're just really keen to bring people together."
Ironically, the 2018 charity rodeo was cancelled due to the extreme heat conditions, while the 2016 edition fell victim to the wet.
"Last year, the drought affected the community, the competitors and the stock contractors," Mr Singleton said.
"They're all linked rurally.
"So, we're well aware of what our farmers are going through [at the moment].
"In 2016, it was dissimilar - it hadn't rained for ages.
"Maybe it could be an omen next month."
To ensure the viability of the Muswellbrook Drought Buster Charity Rodeo, UHSS president Keith Googe admitted they needed the assistance of some generous benefactors.
"This is a plea for local residents and businesses to come on board," he said.
"So, we're on a big drive for sponsors to pay for the event.
"On top of that, we'll need donations of goods and items to auction and raffle.
"What we want to offer is top-class rodeo entertainment, along with other family-friendly activities to suit all varying tastes.
"There'll be a variety of food stalls, as well as licenced bars, music, camel rides, pony rides, jumping castle/slippery slides, markets, working dog demonstrations and more.
"We're hoping to have buses running from Merriwa, Murrurundi and Singleton, too.
"At the end of the day, it's a Muswellbrook event for the Upper Hunter.
"However, we require plenty of support.
"Time is of the essence.
"Please contact me so we can arrange a meeting to discuss what help you may be able to offer this very worthy cause.
"If you can assist in making this event a reality and, hopefully, a resounding success, it will be a step in helping the wellbeing of our wider community during these trying times."
Mr Singleton revealed the Muswellbrook Drought Buster Charity Rodeo would showcase a full program - all the usual categories, including juniors.
"It's also the end of the points' year for competitors on the ABCRA circuit," he said.
"So, we'll host some high-quality bullriders, with a good bunch of locals.
"It will be terrific to see the likes of the Attenboroughs, Parkinsons, Richardsons, Cody Heffernan and Heath Nichols in action.
"We have a lot of home-grown talent in the Hunter Valley.
"Muswellbrook Showground boasts a great surface - and set-up.
"It's fast and quick.
"Fitzsimmons Bros Livestock, from Branxton, has always supported us as well.
"They'll provide as good as stock as anyone, so it all sets the scene for a massive occasion on October 19."