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Riders return to Esperance

Corrina RidgwayCountryman
Camera IconCredit: Corrina Ridgeway

The thrills and spills of the second Annual Esperance Rodeo were played out last Saturday.

After a successful return to the rodeo circuit in 2013, Esperance turned up the heat for an enthusiastic crowd on the weekend.

Competitors from across Australia took part in events ranging from the open bull ride to the children's mutton buster ride.

Gates opened at 10am with the Main Event Grand Entry Parade at 1pm wowing spectators.

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Between 1500 and 2000 excited spectators passed through the gates for an action-packed family day out.

Crowd-pleasers were the mutton buster competition, giving children the chance to show their riding prowess aboard a charging sheep.

Organised by Esperance Rodeo, with assistance from affiliated National Rodeo Council of Australia, the event was a full-point rodeo.

Esperance Rodeo president Brett George said this assisted in attracting an enormous amount of talent.

"We had riders from all over Australia riding, from as far as Cloncurry in QLD, Gunnedah in NSW and Victoria. There was a State champion heeler competing - as well as previous national winners. We even had champion American saddle bronc rider Travis Edwards riding who has just returned from competing in the American Professional Rodeo Circuit," he said.

Bull and steer riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, roping, steer undecorating and barrel racing took place in front of full grandstands.

An array of clowns added to the colourful display while local food vans and the bull bar were busy keeping crowds fed and watered.

Esperance had not seen rodeo action since the 1970s, until the recent formation of the Esperance Rodeo, with the intention to bring rodeos back for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.

Mr George said the day had been very successful with plenty of positive feedback buoying spirits.

"We have had really good feedback, with a lot of great comments being posted on the Esperance Rodeo Face Book page. Our master of ceremonies, Paul Casey, was brilliant this year and kept the crowd entertained all day," he said.

"He is a wealth of information and it was great to have him here.

"The music and sound systems were also tremendous."

In the Open Bull Ride, Wade McArthy picked up the $4150 purse for first place aboard Slingshot. Rookie Bull Ride was taken out by Edward Ironside, while no rider made time in the under-16s.

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