WINGHAM turned on picture perfect summer weather and the competitors turned on the action for thousands who made their way to experience Wingham’s Summertime Rodeo.
Saturday’s rodeo was a hot ticket for competitors with entries jumping from last year’s 148 to 244.
Wingham Show Society president James McCarthy said he is thrilled with how smoothly the night ran and said the success of the event has put the society back on its feet financially.
“It takes a bit to excite me and this is just terrific. I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
The Wingham Society’s strategy of increasing prize money drew in the best competitors and with Matt Adam’s world class stock keeping each rider on their toes.
“It was the best line up of horses and bulls I’ve seen at a rodeo for a long time,” he said.
Show society vice president and stock worker, Merv Mills echoed his satisfaction in how the rodeo went and said competitors and spectators alike praised the society for running a top notch event.
“We really pulled it off,” he said.
Thousands came in droves to witness man take on beast in the arena.
Spare room on the side of the hill was nonexistent and standing room barely there as the showground was filled to capacity by 7.30pm.
“It was just like when the national finals were held in Wingham,” Merv said.
The showground arena was opened up for extra parking space when a traffic jam several hundred metres developed down Gloucester Road.
In the week before the rodeo, James spent days promoting the event throughout the district as far as Gloucester, Buladelah, Coolongalook, Krambach, Laurieton and Forster as well as the local area.
A diehard group of workers also spent days in the lead up improving and preparing the rodeo arena and grounds.
James said the night ran smoothly and was a fantastic family night with no incidents.
Local competitors Ben Gallagher, Braedyn Cameron, David Mills, Luke Moore and Carl Schubert were well supported by the crowd.
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The drawcard event, the open bull ride, was taken out by Duncan Elks. The open saddle bronc was won by Carl Green and the open bareback event by Dee Heinemann.
Glen Chape showed guts in the steer wrestle, taking out first place.
The novice riders did not disappoint with the novice bareback won by Bryce Magnay and the novice bull ride by Tom Colwell.
The coveted novice saddle bronc Rick Norris Memorial buckle was awarded by Tom Knight.
Team roping header was taken out by Ben Smith and Heeler Troy O’Niele.
The young guns showed them how it was done, impressing spectators with their speed and agility. The eight to 11 years barrel race was won by Matt Canham with the under 11 barrel race taken out by Jade Tribe.
First place in the eight to 11 years steer ride was KC Flanagan with Toby Leake winning the under 11 to 14 steer ride. The 14 to 18 years steer ride was won by Brodie Gray.
The 14 to 18 years juvenile barrel race was won by Dana Knock.
The junior breakaway eight to under 18 was taken out by Jackson Dening.
The mini bucking ponies was a highlight for the crowd, with the tiny competitors showing how brave they were taking to the saddle. Braith Nock rode outstandingly into first place in the exciting new event.
Another new event on Wingham rodeo’s lineup was the steer undecorating, with first place taken by Jillian Birch.
The horsewomen were in fine form with Bianca Hertel taking first place honours in the women’s barrel race.
Greg Townsend took out the rope and tie and Helen McVicar the breakaway roping.
The crowds were kept entertained by the excitable rodeo clown, and side-splitting audience participation in a Gangnam Style dance competition in the main arena.
James said a lot of thought and planning was put into making Wingham Summertime rodeo an entertaining and affordable night for families. Gate prices were reduced with carnival rides, a range of food stalls and bar facilities organised to make it a great night out. He said the overwhelming success of the rodeo has put the show society in good stead for the Wingham Show in March.
The smooth running of the night has the society considering running another rodeo later in the year.
James thanked all of the volunteers for contributing to the rodeo including Margaret Morgan and her helpers in the kiosk, Lola Turner and her staff in the bar, Merv Mills and his boys working the stock in the arena, Raelene Marshall and workers in the office and Michael Clarke for his advice and experience.
He also expressed his appreciation for the many businesses who sponsored the event.