Wild rides ahead at Gympie Bull and Bronc Spectacular
IT is hard to say whether people come for the bad bulls and wild horses, or the men who ride them, but Gympie's annual Bull and Bronc Spectacular will please everyone with its action-packed program on February 28.
Gates open at 5pm at the Gympie Showgrounds, but man pits himself against animal from 7pm, all in the name of fundraising for Ashleigh Ensbey, the ring committee Showgirl entrant for the Gympie and District Show Society.
The evening puts top riders from South-East Queensland into four major events -- the open bull ride, junior bull ride, saddle bronc and bareback, as well as giving women a chance to show their mettle in the barrel race.
Event coordinator and bullfighter Joe Mooney junior said the bucking bull stock included "some real rippers" like Danger Mouse and Milk Money, provided by Stuart Timms from Pittsworth.
"These bulls are bred for fighting, they are well travelled and always give a good show," Mr Mooney said.
Honky Tonk Rodeo Promotions from Yangan, near Warwick, is bringing the horses, which will include the National Rodeo Association's 2007 bucking horse of the year Miss Juicy as well as the awesome RIP.
Mr Mooney expects a big crowd as rodeo continues to make gains as a spectator sport in Australia.
He has just returned from America where he works the circuit as a professional bullfighter, or rodeo clown, a career which followed on from 16 years in the arena as a bull rider himself.
After a string of injuries including a broken jaw and internal bleeding, he decided to take up bullfighting, where his job is to distract the bull away from the rider once he lands on the ground.
It's the adrenalin that keeps him in the sport, but he grew up in the industry, starting rodeo as a 14-year-old teenager and leaving the family property to catch bush bulls as he grew older.
"This is a lot safer than those contract jobs," Mr Mooney said. He will be joined in the rodeo arena this year by fellow Gympie bullfighter Ashley Clem.
For the past four years Mr Mooney has held the role as chief rodeo steward for the Gympie and District Show Society ring committee, learning the ropes from his father Joe senior.
The bull and bronc spectacular will bring up to 35 bull riders and 20 saddle competitors to the Gympie Showgrounds, and will be followed by a two-hour concert by the popular Luella from Maryborough.
All money raised from the evening is used by the show society to develop the showground facilities and improve the attractions at the annual show in May.
The Gympie Bull and Bronc Spectacular costs just $15 entry for adults, $10 for pensioners and high school students, and children are entitled to free entry. A family pass is $40.
The spectacular is sponsored by Gympie businesses including The Gympie Times, Classic Hits 4GY, Channel 7, John Buckley Electrical, Geoff Buckley Stewart Terrace Butchery and Tom Grady CRT.
Graphics to the right:
WILD RIDE: An adrenalin-packed moment in the rodeo arena with a bull called Mile High Club. Photo courtesy Jenny Dyer.
CLOWNING AROUND: Joe Mooney junior distracts a bull to save a rider. Photo courtesy Jenny Dyer.
Gympie Showgrounds, Gympie
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