Rodeo draws big crowd in Finley

By Daniel Hughes

The Finley Rodeo more than doubled last year’s attendance numbers with more than 900 walking through the gates to watch the 36th annual event on a hot Friday night last week.

The rodeo started with morning events from 8am, instead of 10am as originally scheduled, and these continued until 1pm so they could be completed before the heat set in.

As the gates opened in the evening people steadily flowed through, packing into the stands around the arena.

Benjamin Gard was the big winner on the night taking out the open bull ride competition.

Despite extreme heat conditions, with the temperature reaching 39ºC, competitors performed for a crowd who responded well to the Finley Apex Club’s decision to move the grandstands this year.

“It was a pretty good event; the crowd really liked the new layout of the grounds and were able to enjoy the shade a little more this year,” president Lachlan Kerr said.

“It ran smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy the night.

“We were nearly not going to run it this year after last year’s numbers, but I’m glad we did.”

Those who braved the conditions were rewarded with cooler weather once the action restarted for the main event at 7pm.

With so many competitors for the twilight event, the bucking action continued under lights through to about 9pm.

The crowd was treated to the best the Australian Professional Rodeo Association could offer, with 350 strapping up for 14 events including bull ride, saddle bronc ride, bareback ride, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing.

Mr Kerr said without the 32 sponsors and the tireless work from volunteers and club members, the rodeo could not have been a success.

“The Apex Club put in a great effort in the lead up and during the event,” he said.

“We also had a lot of help from our sponsors whose contributions made it possible.

“It’s a big three days for the club and we couldn’t have done it without support from around the region; we appreciate how charitable and hard working people are.

“It’s a hard event to run, but we pulled it off thanks to everyone’s help.”

At the time of going to print yesterday, results were not yet available from the Australian Professional Rodeo Association.