PRO rodeo is back in Tamworth tonight and there are plenty of reasons for locals to fill the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre.
For a start, the action in the main arena will be entertaining with a full rodeo program, including bucking stock, roping and barrel racing events.
Some of the very best riders this region has produced are lining up and others are coming from as far as Queensland and Victoria to compete.
“Darren Clarke is a local bloke who is probably one of the winningest bronc riders in Australian history and has been overseas,” organiser Greg Leys said.
“And Kerry Wellington is another local from Moonbi who is a former national champion.
“We’ve actually got a lot of entries from current and past champions but we’re also looking to our younger riders as well.
“We want to develop the juniors for the future.”
It is the first time this event has been held but far from the first major pro rodeo Tamworth has seen.
The plan is to make it an annual event and get the crowds and the competitors back in big numbers.
“We had a pro rodeo in Tamworth years and years ago and we had Chainsaw here, who was a national icon,” Leys said.
“Tamworth pro rodeo used to be huge, with people coming from all over Australia.
“We’re trying to build up to that level again.
“We want to build it up over the next five to 10 years.”
And if the action in the middle isn’t already a good enough reason to attend, it is also helping a good cause.
“The proceeds will go to NSW Police Legacy in light of what has happened in our community in recent times,” Leys said.
“That hit home for me with two young kids.
“So that was one of the driving forces behind it.
“We wanted to do something for the community with the sport that we love.”
The first events were actually held last night, with a world series team roping event getting underway.
That also continues tomorrow.
There is also an additional barrel racing competition held tomorrow on the outside arenas by the Clover Leaf Barrel Racing Club.
But the main action is this afternoon and tonight, with the rodeo program starting at 1pm with the junior events.
The main events start at 7pm and tickets are available at Ticketek or at the door for $35 adults and $25 children.