Host: Blina Station
Written by Connie Gray – Manager, Blina.
Fitzroy Rodeo – Lead up and the Actual Event
This year Matt took on the enormous task of President of the Fitzroy Valley Rodeo Club. Matt and the committee (myself included) had the gargantuan task of pulling together the first rodeo of the year for the West Kimberley circuit.
Earlier in the year we conducted a busy bee in an attempt to give the tired old infrastructure a facelift. A large portion of the back yards were portable panels and we managed to construct (with the help of some wonderful volunteers) a whole new permanent fixture.
The Fitzroy Rodeo holds a special place in my heart partly because my great uncle, the late Bruce Gray started the Rodeo Club as we know it today. It was previously a Race Club and Bruce put his heart and soul into getting the FVRC up and running – at times putting up his own money for prizes and funding. Also, my father was contracted to construct the existing camp draft arena.
But namely, it was at this event, four years ago, where I met Matt . . . So it is quite fitting that we have both put our shoulder to the wheel to keep such a long standing community event running and hopefully even more successful.
It certainly is a big weekend!!! The fun starts bright and early on Friday morning with the Camp Draft running all day Friday and Saturday morning. Blina supplied the camp draft cattle this year and despite being broken in and handled on horses they were a tad naughty . . . Which was embarrassing!!!
The action really starts with the Rodeo on Saturday afternoon – bulls, broncs, and buckles galore!!! We had bulls from Sophie Downs, Mark Gordon, and GoGo. The broncs were supplied by Mervyn Wortley at Ruby Plains. It is great to hear the whoop and holler of the crowd (spurred on by the one and only Todd Walsh and his apple juice!!) when one of the boys (and girls) gets that 8 second ride!
We had cute poddy riders (not dodgers), beautiful barrel racers, and boys riding for bragging rights (and prize money). I love looking out from the secretary’s box and watching the riders prepping themselves to jump on and try for the famed 8 seconds. It’s great to see the more experienced guys helping the first time boys and girls jump on a steer or bronc for the first time, it’s even better when the girls jump on and show the boys how it is done!!
For Matt and I it was a full on weekend – working in the bar until 1 am and then up again at 5.30 to do whatever needs to be done at that time. We also found time to somehow compete amongst all of this.
Events like this are impossible without the help of volunteers – it really does warm my heart how so many people just get stuck in and help – whether it’s on the camp draft gate, in the back yards, dragging and watering the arena, or helping in the secretary’s box . . . and so much much more.
These rodeo events are the life blood for our communities and the main point of social interaction for so many young people up here.