Cowboys and cowgirls scrambling to qualify for Australian Bushman’s and Campdraft Rodeo Association finals have one last chance to add fat to their winnings at Gundagai on Saturday.
Unlike Tarcutta and Harden, Riverina rodeos that had a downturn in rough stock entries this year, Gundagai has attracted a strong, competitive field in bull ride, saddle bronc and bareback events.
Tooma cowboy Brad Pierce, has won two from three ABCRA saddle bronc contests this season, has entered the ever-popular Gundagai Rodeo, determined to place and qualify for finals in January.
Pierce boosted his Australian Professional Rodeo Association national standing from ninth to second at finals in October, rounding-out the season on a high.
He’s drawn Cajun Lady, a Gary McPhee mare.
“I’ve been on her about four or five times,” Pierce said.
“She’s tough to get going, if you’re riding good you’re gonna get a cheque on her.”
Pierce is pitted against a Tumut cowboy he has been mentoring, Cooper Thatcher who has drawn Little Warrior.
“He’s starting to go pretty well,” Pierce said.
“He’s come to two or three of my schools, hopefully he’ll be one of the ones to start winning it.”
Gundagai locals Mark Edwards and Aiden Jeffrey are sure to be crowd favourites in the saddle bronc.
Bull rider Michael Rowson who attained the only score to win at Camden on Saturday will ride at Gundagai.
Eurberta cowgirl Maree Curtis is in a race against time to quality for finals.
In the bareback, APRA runner-up Ben Hall from Tumbarumba will contend with Mitch Tidyman from Cobra, sitting second in the ABCRA.
Curtis, who has had some big wins this year including the barrel race at Mareeba in Queensland, is aiming to clock some good times on her horse Sunny at two different rodeos on Saturday.
She will juggle the logistics of competing at Mendooran, near Dubbo, before loading up the horse truck and making the journey back to Gundagai.
Curtis isn’t the only one competing at the two rodeos this weekend.
Gundagai organiser Darrell Edwards worked the schedule to account for the clash.
“We wanted to give them a good chance to make both,” he said.
“We’ve drawn six competitors from north Queensland trying to gather points.”
Edwards finalised entries on Monday; 329.
The fun begins at 12pm and ends with entertainer Jay Podger on the stage, headlining at 10pm.