Tumut Rodeo attracted more than double the town’s population in 2016, and organisers are preparing for another mammoth event at the showgrounds on Saturday.
A staggering 13,500 people went through the gates last year, and with entries up across the board in rough stock and timed events, the hill’s sure to be packed with spectators by midday.
Cowboys and cowgirls will compete for handsome winnings with $2000 up for grabs in the following events – saddle bronc, bull riding, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, rope and tie, breakaway roping, steer undecorating and the barrel race.
“We’ve had big entries in the steer wrestling and team roping,” organiser Brad Malone said.
Australian rodeo royalty Jason O’Hearn from Rothbury near Newcastle will compete in the bull ride and local saddle bronc star Rob Bandy from Tumblong returns to more familiar territory after competing at the Royal Easter Show. Bandy’s a hot favourite after splitting first in round one of last year’s Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association national final.
Malone’s enthused about the crop of young cowboys emerging to rival the veterans.
“A lot of our local young guys have been phenomenal on the circuit lately,” he said.
“Look out for guys like Tom Kerr, Cooper Thatcher and Dylan Weir.”
Malone said he’ll also have his eye on junior competitors from Tumut, Jake and Toby Deudney.
Tumbarumba’s Ben Hall and Tooma’s Brad Pierce, who have been hard at it on the Australian Professional Rodeo Association scene in the lead up to finals in October, have entered, despite the fact winnings won’t count towards APRA standings.
Most entrants will be well-practiced and polished after a heavy competition period over Easter, competing in as many as six rodeos.
The rodeo will run all day long, with just one break to pack in the events.
Gates open at 8am, final event scheduled for 10pm.
“It’d be great to see another big crowd,” Malone said.
“The more we get through the gates the more we can give back to the community.”
Entry costs $10 for adults, $5 for children under 16 and is free for primary-aged kids accompanied by an adult.
Proceeds go to local charities and not for profit organisations including Can Assist, Careflight, Hospital, Riding for the Disabled, a Tumut pre school and soccer club.
Open saddle bronc: 16
Open bull ride: 16
Open bareback: 16
Novice bareback: 8
Novice bull ride: 18
Novice barrel race: 64