RODEO kids listen up – the Australian High School Rodeo Association national finals are this weekend – and they’re at Murrurundi.
Action starts from 9am on Saturday with the second round at 2pm, and the finals at 9am on Sunday.
About 30 students from across Australia, including half a dozen locals, will converge on the Rosedale complex to compete in events like bull riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, pole bending, ribbon roping, chute dogging and a bareback steer ride.
Two slightly more unusual events include the saddle bronc steer ride and the dummy goat tying.
And the best bit?
The top four competitors in each event automatically earn themselves a spot on the Australian team to compete in America this winter.
AHSRA national director Lana Wicks, of Quirindi, said the ultimate aim of the association was to keep kids in school.
“Our members must be in school, it’s a great incentive to be able to pursue the sport but continue an education,” she said.
“We’ve had two students go back to school to stay eligible.”
Murrurundi girl Tyler Palmer has entered in the queen competition, which is judged on presentation, horsemanship and public speaking ability.
“I’m passionate about encouraging kids to take that ride to America, it really is a wonderful opportunity for the kids, the friendships, the contacts, the culture difference and the rodeo difference between America and Australia, it’s priceless,” Wicks said.
The top junior competitors, Year 6 to Year 8, will compete at Huron in South Dakota in June, while the top high school finalists, Year 9 to Year 12, will compete at Rock Springs in Wyoming in July.
Competitors will attend from as far away as Western Australia and North Queensland.
It’s also the first time Murrurundi will be home to the AHSRA finals with other hosts including Coonamble, Charters Towers, Caboolture and Kingaroy.
“In my eyes, that little complex is one of the greatest in Australia,” Wicks said.
“It’s family-friendly, it exudes old-fashioned values and it feels like home.”