3000 hit Myrtleford for 'the ultimate event'

“HE was gone like last week’s pay,” came the booming voice from the loudspeakers as another cowboy bit the dust.

The commentary wasn’t the only colour provided at Myrtleford’s Golden Spurs Rodeo yesterday but it got the 3000-strong crowd tittering as the quick-witted MC dished out the one-liners faster than hot chips sold by the Apex Club in a shed up from the ring.

More than 300 cowboys came from as far as Tasmania to compete in Myrtleford’s 69th rodeo in front of spectators who came from as far as Germany with the Lion’s Club organisers saying the size of the crowd was up on last year.

“We’re happy as,” came the nod from Myrtleford Lion’s Club president Rick Rickard.

“We’ve got the big screen this year — it’s absolutely fantastic.

“They’ve got cameras everywhere. People are seeing what the cowboys do, then they’ve got slow-motion cameras.

“It’s the first time we’ve had it and it won’t be the last.”

Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce president Frank Ivone said the rodeo was the town’s most important event.

“It’s the ultimate event, really. We’ve got people coming to town, we’ve got people spending,” he said.

“It rubs off right through the business community.”

Tooma farmer and national rodeo champion Brad Pierce, 26, has been coming to Myrtleford since he was 10 years old.

Pierce, who has won major rodeos in the US and Brazil, said “everyone’s keen” to compete at Myrtleford.

“It’s the start of the year. If you get a good start to the (season), you keep going good,” he said.

He’s had broken bones and strained muscles but Mr Pierce said the feeling you got from staying on a bull that had him hooked.

“It makes you feel pretty special,” he said.

“You can’t really describe it. It’s something no one else is going to get.”

Mr Pierce managed this interview before the rodeo finals where cowboys were bucked and bruised and the commentator was still finding a line for everything, including a lone bull refusing to get back into the pen.

“He must be married. He doesn’t want to go home,” he said.

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