An upcoming cycling event in Orange is aiming to raise much needed funds for a rural charity that supports drought-affected farmers.
The Newcrest Orange Challenge, hosted by the Bicycle Network, hopes to raise more than $10,000 for the Buy a Bale campaign.
It will return to the region on Sunday, March 22, 2020 and Bicycle Network wants to give something back to the communities that have supported the event since it began.
Starting and finishing in Orange, the full 170 kilometre route takes riders through Canowindra, Cargo, Belubula Way, Mandurama and Forest Reefs.
There are also 70km and 100km ride options available.
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Bicycle Network spokesperson Anthea Hargreaves said Bicycle Network will donate the first $2000 and encourage event participants and bike riders to add to the fund.
"Bicycle Network's donation will buy 200 bales of hay, but we'd like to able to buy a full truckload to help the region's farmers," Ms Hargreaves said.
"Since 2016, we've been welcomed to Orange and the Central West and it's tough to now see these people battling terrible drought conditions. It would be wrong for us to visit and not do everything we can to help."
As well as donating to the Buy a Bale fund, event visitors are encouraged to buy local produce and support local businesses while in the region.
Plans are also being made to make sure the Newcrest Orange Challenge is careful with its resource management, including water usage along the entire route.
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Bicycle Network will hold community meetings to discuss plans with locals.
"We understand that we need to minimise our own impact. Up to 2,000 people will come to town for the event and we want the community to benefit without us using up local resources," Ms Hargreaves said.
Newcrest Mining's Cadia general manager Peter Sharpe said the central west region continues to be hit hard by the drought.
"It is great that we can use the Newcrest Orange Challenge as an opportunity to further support farmers doing it tough in our local community through the Buy a Bale campaign," Mr Sharpe said.
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Early bird entries to the Newcrest Orange Challenge are now open at orangechallenge.com.au with a bonus jersey available for each of the 70km, 100km and 170km rides.
People can donate to the Buy a Bale campaign at the same time as entering the event or donate alone at orangechallenge.com.au.
All donations will be passed on to the Buy a Bale's Western NSW operation.
Newcrest is the major sponsor of the event. The Newcrest Orange Challenge is supported by the NSW Government via their tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.