Boots on people and grab your hats because the rodeo is coming to town.
Yep, it’s been 10 years since that thumping, jumping, yahooing jewel in the crown of Young’s annual calendar has given a glint to the eyes of local people and its announced return is already the talk of the town.
The Saturday December 2 evening premiere event is part of the 2017 National Cherry Festival line-up.
Set to start as the popular national Cherry Festival street parade and Celtic tattoo wind down, the rodeo will give the festival an energetic new injection serving to offer locals and visitors alike another reason to stick around for the entire weekend.
A full card of events is in play - including roughriding (saddle bronc and bareback riding, steer and bull riding) and timed rodeo events such as ladies and junior barrel races, ladies rope and tie, steer wrestling, junior calf riding, team roping and breakaway roping.
Roughriding isn’t new to Australia - it’s been around since the 1880’s when stockmen pitted their skills against wild horses and bullocks, and each other, in a bid to prove their worth.
This translated into the wild west shows that traveled the country and eventually morphed into rodeos in the early 1900’s, with today’s incarnation - with its cowboys, cowgirls, clowns, chaps, concho-studded belts and western saddles - one of the most popular horse sporting events in Australia.
The Young Rodeo was no exception, held annually over a 12 year period until 2007, excellent prizemoney attracted strong competitors from all over Australia and its return has been the most asked question on many people’s lips.
Young Pro Rodeo Association president Paul Blake said he was astounded at the amount of interest in the event - with people, young and old, still sharing tales and memories of the old rodeos held at Young Showground.
“There hasn’t been a conversation I’ve had about it that hasn’t drawn back to that time, it was such a popular event and for that reason, obviously stuck in people’s memories,” he said.
Given that the popularity of rodeos is now at an all time high and really hooking into mainstream interests, he hoped the 2017 event would exceed people’s expectations.
The Young Equine Centre at Toompang Racecourse is the selected venue for the 2017 Cherry Festival Rodeo.
It will be the first time the newly-minted rodeo grounds will play host to an event of this calibre, realising a dream for the hardworking Young Pro Rodeo Association committee.
Paul Blake said the years of searching in finding a permanent home for the Pro Rodeo Association have resulted in the construction of a man-made ampitheatre amid some 30 acres of land leased from the Burrangong Picnic Race Club.
“It’ll give spectators a perfect vantage point to take in all the action,” he said.
With details still to be locked down, for now the committee is seeking support - from service groups, schools and sponsors, to get everything locked in.
“It’s a huge undertaking and it depends on the support of the community,” Paul said, “and obviously the more sponsorship we can get the better calibre riders we can attract.”
“And the naming rights to the event are still up for grabs,” he added with a grin.
People wishing to provide support or sponsorship for the 2017 Cherry Festival Rodeo are asked to call Paul Blake on 0418 327 658.