Biting the dust at the Warwick Rodeo

By Josephine Sargent 7 November 2013
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30,000 spectators gather to watch the power and the glory of Warwick’s rodeo, held in October every year.

IN QUEENSLAND’S CITY OF ROSES, there’s an annual battle going on, far from Warwick’s manicured main street of blooms. The annual rodeo has brought together bullriders and campdrafters from across Australia, each with an unwavering will to win as they line up for their turn in the ring.

AG went ringside in October 2011 to report a story on bullfighter Dan Roberts who is featured in the March/April issue of the journal (107). The first official rodeo was held here in 1906. Up to 30,000 people now descend annually on this town, 130km south-west of Brisbane, to cheer on their favourites and wince as rider after rider is thrown into the dust.

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Cowboy blues saved for tomorrow at the Rodeo

Beyond the ring, the showgrounds take on a carnival atmosphere. Tinny music rings out as stall owners tempt punters to take their chances on games to win a giant, stuffed animals; dagwood dogs dripping in sauce becomes dinner; and rides – their long mechanical arms flashing with lights – lure in children and the young at heart.

As the sun sets, locals and tourists mingle by the bar, drinking cans of beer and ‘Bundy and Coke’ and cheer on the last of the action before the live band takes over the spotlight. Boots tap in time and people take the outdoor dance floor, a blur of checked shirts and Akubras. Tomorrow, the last of the bullriding and campdrafting round will be contested, before the assembly of trailers, tents, stalls and rides are packed down, another rodeo over. Tonight, though, it’s just about having a bloody good time.