THE Rock is home to one of the most established rodeo stock contracting businesses in Australia.
With a focus that could be likened to any stud sheep or cattle operation John Gill and his son Jarrad talk about their livestock with passion and depth.
They know the paternal and maternal history of each animal and can also assess what makes these athletes become stars of the rodeo arena.
The family are currently preparing for the upcoming Wagga Pro Rodeo on February 4 but before that event takes shape they will travel to Tamworth with some of their finest horses and bulls.
The semi load of bulls and broncs will participate in the Australian Bushman’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association National Finals which coincides with the coveted Tamworth Country Music Festival.
But for those in the Riverina who want to see the livestock – that can often be viewed as you travel the Olympic Highway north of The Rock – Wagga Pro Rodeo will be the place to be.
Mr Gill said the action starts at 5pm at Equex and spectators have an opportunity to see a full card of events.
Current Australian Professional Rodeo Association (ABCRA) all around cowgirl and barrel racing champion Shianne O’Donoghue of Victoria has indicated that she plans to enter the event.
Local competitors include Brad and Tayla Pierce and Mr Gill said bareback rider Ben Hall of Tumbarumba would be one to watch too.
Bull rider Ben Thorp of Young has also signaled his intention to ride at the event.
Mr Gill said the rodeo was an important part of the national circuit and it wasn’t unusual for competitors from all over Australia to enter.
The bull aptly named High Flying Akubra was set to be a draw card and he currently holds the top ranking on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit.
Mr Gill said the focus of the Wagga event was to provide true family entertainment and he had woven a couple of events into the program to cater for the younger riders too.
He expects a Shetland pony barrel race – for riders under 10 – to create plenty of support from the crowd.
Another junior event that was anticipated to attract the brightest stars of rodeo was the pony bareback.
Mr Gill said the pony bareback was always popular with crowds.
“We really want to focus on the juniors … they are the future of this sport,” he said.
Mr Gill said the rodeo also provided an ideal opportunity for people to catch up and reminisce.
He said the social aspect as an essential part of the sport too.
- Watch the current Australian all around champion cowgirl Shianne O’Donohue make a money-earning run in Victoria last weekend.