Posted by Rae Heston
THE bombshell announcement that the Rockingham Beach Cup has been cancelled for 2020 was released on Friday.
Before the decision,  Beach Cup Committee representatives consulted  the  Rotary Club of Palm Beach’s board on Monday, September 21.  
A detailed review of logistics, public health and financial risks  led to the recommendation to cancel the 2020 event, adopted at the Rockingham Beach Cup Committee’s Tuesday meeting. 
The committee then consulted the City of Rockingham and the decision to cancel was approved at  Palm Beach Rotary’s extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday .
  The hundreds of people of people who had already paid for their tickets have already been refunded, though it might take two or three days for the to appear in their bank accounts.
   Cup marketing coordinator Genevieve Bailey quickly posted the announcement on Facebook and Instagram, emailed all on the committee’s database and updated the website to say the cup would be back in 2021. 
   Committee member Rob McGavin had notified trainers who had been preparing horses for the big day and the jockeys.
   Committee chairwoman and club president  Donna McDonald told the news media: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of the Channel 7 Rockingham Beach Cup and Community Festival in 2020. 
   “The recent COVID-19 safety directions and guidelines for events, have led us to this difficult decision.  
“The health and safety of our attendees, the wider community and all involved in the running of the event are of the utmost importance to us. We believe our decision to cancel the event will ensure we are taking all necessary steps to keep them safe and well.  
“We are incredibly grateful for the support and interest in this year’s event and understand this will come as a great disappointment to many.  
“We will be back in November 2021 for a Rockingham Beach Cup and Community Festival, bigger and better than ever.  
“We thank patrons, sponsors and the City of Rockingham for your support and understanding, and look forward to welcoming you back to the iconic Rockingham Beach Cup next year.’’ 
 Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels regretted the news in his Community Update, issued yesterday.
 “The city is saddened by this development as the Rockingham Beach Cup has grown into an iconic event for the community since it was held for the first time in 2016,” he wrote. 
 “It’s a unique event in WA, and last year more than 16,000 visitors attended the two-day event. More than 7000 of these people were from outside the City.
 “Not only is it a fantastic spectacle that showcases everything our great city has to offer, it also provides a significant economic boost to local businesses. 
 “Research conducted following the 2019 Rockingham Beach Cup found it injected $1.3 million into the local economy, including nearly $600,000 in visitor expenditure.
 “While it is unfortunate the event will not proceed in 2020, we are heartened to hear it will be back in November 2021, bigger and better than ever.”