Riding through the rain
It finally happened — the Mullewa Muster and Rodeo was a wet one. A steady drizzle of beautiful soaking rain starting in the early hours of the morning meant the farmers in the crowd could be easily identified by their happy smiles despite the chill and muddy conditions.
Crowd numbers were slightly down for the 2016 rodeo because of the weather but those who came were treated to an impressive display of rodeo action minus the traditional Mullewa dust.
Marquees selling hot food and coffee, horse and rider gear, horse feed and local produce provided ample shelter from the drizzling rain for spectators and competitors.
Entertainment also included the hotly contested Whip Cracking contest and Beaut Ute competition.
The arena action began early with the junior and senior Midwest barrel competition, with riders from a 100km radius of Mullewa. The senior barrel race was won by Denzi Findlay on Tina in a time of 18.56 sec, backing up her win in the same event from 2015. Hannah Oliver-Wood won the junior section on her palomino gelding, Patrick.
The barrel racing continued with the under-11 competition which was won by Brianna Maxwell in a time of 21.83sec. In the 11 to 14-year division Hunta Gallagher won in 18.69sec.
The juvenile barrel (14-to-18 years) was won, to a delighted crowd, by local cowgirl Caitlyn Swift on her palomino gelding, Bear.
The junior riders put on a superb display of horsemanship. In the junior breakaway Madeline Spanjers and her horse Hank showed a blistering display with a time of 3.78sec.
The 11-to-14 junior steer ride was won by Courtney Reinke with a score of 63 and the 14-to-18 year division by Daniel Usher with a score of 72.
As the rain abated and crowd numbers began to build, the grand parade and opening ceremony was held.
The glamour and passion of the sport of rodeo were highlighted with cowgirls holding a multitude of flags aloft on their horses before a heartfelt singing of the national anthem and welcome to country complete with cowboys, hats off and heads bowed in respect.
With the ceremony over the rodeo action was stepped up a notch with the ladies barrel race, was won by rodeo favourite Stacey McCarthy on Marvin in a time of 18.07sec. Taya Hill won the steer undecorating in a time of 2.53sec., putting on an amazing saddle bronc demonstration when her horse became rather excited by all the speed and action. The breakaway roping was won by Amanda Oversby in 3.10sec.
Amanda will need to watch out for her protege Madeline Spanjers, who won the juniors division with a time 0.68sec. slower than hers.
A crowd favourite is always the bull ride, and the novice event was won by Jack Collins with a score of 71 and the open bull ride was again won by Wade McCarthy, the reigning national bull ride champion, with a score of 79.
The rope and tie was won by Maverick DeBurgh in an impressive time of 11.06 and the steer wrestling by Tim Richardson in a time of 10.93. In the team roping Glen Potter and Dylan Ruff came home the winners in a quick time of 8.52.
Another crowd-pleaser involved fast-paced bucking horses heading across the arena with a cowboy aboard trying to remain there for eight seconds. In the saddle bronc division NSW’s Carl Green won with a score of 73 and the bareback was won by Peter Price with a score of 77.
The overall cowgirl was Wendy Harris, who also took home a pearl pendant from Latitude Gallery, and the overall cowboy title was awarded to Carl Green, who added an embroidered horse rug to his prizes, sponsored by Nita Rumble Day Care.
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