SADDLE up cowboys and girls — there’s a new rodeo is in town.
Beechworth will host its first rodeo on Saturday and organisers hope it will become a regular fixture on the town’s events calendar.
There will be a full line-up of stock and bale events and some of the nation’s best riders will take centre stage at the event’s Mayday Hills venue. They will compete for more than $7000 in prizemoney.
The event, which follows tomorrow’s rodeo at Finley, marks the end of the Australian Professional Rodeo Association’s Christmas run.
Beechworth Rodeo secretary Maree Anstee, a budding cowgirl herself, said organisers expected at least 2000 people to attend.
“We’re trying to be conservative, but I think we’ll get there,” she said.
“Everyone seems really keen and it’s peak tourist season — the town is just packed at the moment.
“We’ll have the best cowboys in the country there competing against some of best bucking stock.”
Ms Anstee said while preparations were “a bit stressful”, all was going well and things were coming together.
Funds raised from the day will go to the Beechworth Bushrangers Football and Netball Club and the Beechworth Wanderers Cricket Club.
Ms Anstee, who also coaches A and B grade netball at the club, said she and a group of rodeo-loving friends had the idea for the event last year and had decided to approach the sporting clubs about it.
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney said he was pleased the money raised was going straight back into the community.
“It will be good for locals and tourists and complement the Chiltern rodeo in March,” he said.
“It’s something new for Beechworth — there’s a real sense of excitement around town.
“It’s the first rodeo here that I can recall.”
Cr Gaffney said the timing couldn’t be better either, with the town still packed with visitors from the Christmas-New Year period.
He said he was open to the event becoming a regular part of the Beechworth calendar .
“A lot will depend on its success this year, but I can’t see why it won’t work,” Cr Gaffney said.
Among the cowgirls competing will be Lavington’s Stephanie Gard, who will go up against the all-round cowgirl title-holder Cherie O’Donoghue, from Lockington, Victoria.
The event has attracted 49 entrants in the barrel race and 39 in breakaway roping.
The Beechworth Indigo Fuel rodeo is on this Saturday at Mayday Hills, Albert Road.
Gates open at 10am, with the main event starting at 5pm.