MOONBI is preparing for its first rodeo in more than a decade to raise the spirits of farmers doing it tough in drought.
Junior champion riders are travelling from all over – from the north of Mount Isa to as far south as Melbourne – to compete at the Moonbi Showground this Saturday and organisers hope to get a crowd of up to 2000.
The free event will include mechanical bull riding, drought-relief support services and a jumping castle, as well as a Spur Up Rodeo bar and barbecue.
Country music star Travis Collins will also appear – he loves singing to the North West crowds and the drought-relief issue is close to his heart.
“When the farmers are hurting, it transcends all the way through,” he said.
Long-standing member of the Australian Bushman’s Carnival Rodeo Association (ABCRA) Kevin Cooper said “everyone has been touched” by the drought and the rodeo would give farmers a chance to enjoy themselves and forget their worries for the day.
Junior bareback champion Jack Pittman will compete in the rodeo and said his family had been impacted by the lack of rain.
“We haven’t had too much luck with our crops,” he said.
Challenge Community Services is sponsoring the event using federal drought relief funding.
Challenge general manager Chris Buckman said the rodeo concept was borne out of a campfire conversation on his Moore Creek property.
“We started with one little piece and now we have filled a whole day,” he said.
Team penners will kick off the day at 8am, with ABCRA junior riders strutting their stuff from 2pm, with the day’s activities expected to wrap up around 10pm.
The event is part of the Australian government’s drought assistance package aimed at raising awareness of relief and support options for farmers and is supported by Challenge Community Services, Centacare and Medicare Local.