Inaugural York rodeo big success

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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York kicked up its heels at the inaugural rodeo competition held recently adjacent to the town's equine racing site.

The event was non-stop, from the traditional pageantry of the grand opening to the thrills and spills of the rough stock events and the speed and precision of barrel racers and ropers.

A York rodeo spokesman said the ambitious objective, which included setting up the entire infrastructure, was to develop a western horsemanship culture in and around the Avon Valley by hosting a few rodeos each year, along with some minor events.

"If we gain the full support of the townsfolk, businesses and especially the Shire council, it could become an iconic event for the State, if not Australia," the spokesman said.

"The flow-on of commercial and social benefits that it brings to York could be enormous.

"The inaugural rodeo, although being hit by a freak weather storm, went undeterred and the crowd loved it.

"Rodeo competitors are a good, clean bunch of country people that just love their horses and the fun and action that their sport brings.

"With just short of 3000 people attending and almost 300 competitors, it went off like clockwork, a welcome and very positive release for a town that has everything to gain from supporting this family-oriented event."

Chittering under-18 barrel racer Chloe Dawe, 17, said the new rodeo was "awesome". "I had the best run on my horse, Val - it was the best partnership ever," she said.

Barrel racing since she was 11, Chloe and her eight-year-old quarter horse ran 16.84 seconds to take the win and gain valuable leader points towards being named State champion in her age group for 2015.

Three members of the Dawe family participated at York.

In the action-packed bucking events, Gingin cowboy Wade McCarthy thrilled the crowd with spectacular rides, winning both the bull and bareback events.

Several families attended the event and for some, it was the first time they had experienced a full rodeo which included a wide variety of western horsemanship.

Some lucky visitors had an opportunity to enter the main arena and dance for cash with a very entertaining DJ. The crowd also enjoyed the fun side of the rodeo with Jimmy the clown, who danced, mimicking some of the great music artists.

And while the music was pumping, the rodeo spirit was alive and well far into the evening as York celebrated the grand occasion.

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