SATURDAY, February 26 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Whittlesea Rodeo, which has been drawing visitors to Whittlesea Showgrounds since 1972.
Tickets are now on sale for the community event, which was founded by Echuca Village rodeo promoter Bert Hall with the aid of the local Quay family, who played a large part in its success by providing catering, amusements, promotional posters and helping to assemble the rodeo complex.
Promoter Russell Green, of Tarraroo Rodeo Company, said a spirit of local involvement with the rodeo lived on five decades after its creation.
“The success of it has all been brought about by the response we get from the general public, not just in Whittlesea, but in Kilmore and Wallan and other outlying areas,” he said.
“It’s a great event for the community and it’s been running for 50 years, which makes it one of the top rodeos in Victoria as far as popularity.”
Mr Green said while the rodeo had strong local support, it would also bring an influx of tourists and generate money locally.
“The big thing is the effect it has on the local economy. Those eight-second rides are felt all year round,” he said.
“With the invasion of tourists, competitors and rodeo fans from near and far flocking to Whittlesea, local business are [will] reap the rewards.
“Whittlesea Football Netball Club benefits greatly through it … bringing thousands of dollars into the club. It also raises money for the Lions Club, Kinglake Scouts and the Mountain Glory Church, and also supports many local businesses throughout the Whittlesea region.
“We try to keep the money in the local community.”
Mr Green said the rodeo attracted the top riders and bucking stock from across Australia.
“It’s affiliated with the Australian Professional Rodeo Association, which puts it in the highest grade of rodeos going,” he said.
“The stock that are used are all approved bucking stock and some of them travel from Victoria to New South Wales into Queensland and the Northern Territory in a year. They’re superstars; they’re four-legged athletes.
“It’s not just a thrown-together Wild West show, it’s a great sporting event that happens once a year in Whittlesea.”
Mr Green described the rodeo as the ‘last frontier’ between the country and the city.
“There’s nowhere else between Kilmore and Melbourne where you could run a rodeo. It’s the last frontier of outback Australia,” he said.
Tickets are available online at www.ticketebo.com.au/whittleseaprorodeo or can be purchased at the gate.
Gates will open at 3pm, with the action running from 6pm till late.