Rodeo dream comes alive for Harvey

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

What started as a dream 35 years ago for Boyup Brook rural property owner Harvey Dickson - to creatively build a rodeo venue, log by log - was again brought to life at the Cowboy Corral on Saturday.

The annual Harvey Dickson rodeo brings WA's best competitors, who do not mind kicking up their heels to share in the dream of taking the sport to new heights.

Harvey, with wife Rose, daughter Shane and their nine grandchildren, entered the arena in a bullock-driven cart saying he had completed his "keep it country" vision.

"Pardon my unstoppable knack to continue adding some finishing touches," he said.

"Visitors should continue to anticipate a few new outback tree sculptures as time goes on - all with their own story to tell," he said, contemplating more of his chainsaw artistry.

After the Dicksons greeted the rodeo fans, cowboy Gary Jamal Barnes got things off to a flying start, winning the novice bull-ride before getting sideways on open bull Ozzy.

So athletic were the open bulls, only three of the 20 riders were able to stay mounted for the required eight seconds.

Waroona bull-rider Tyrell Smith put in a high 79-point ride on Cherokee to take the top prize money.

The 21-year-old cowboy earlier won the saddle bronc, demonstrating his eagerness for this Saturday's Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association Australian Championships rodeo at Boddington.

ABCRA WA president Rhys Morrissey said it would be the first time WA played host to such a prestigious event.

"It is also presumed to be the richest one-day rodeo ever held in Australia," he said.

No doubt there would be encouraging support for the State's best, including Smith at Boddington, with an expected 32 Eastern States competitors taking part.

Boddington chute boss Stan Baker said the stampede of talent, including national champion all-rounder Heath Nicols, would raise the bar to new levels.

"WA's competitors will have the home court advantage," he said.

Boddington rodeo co-ordinator Stan Cherry said after trying for several years, the ABCRA application was finally approved.

"We are good to go, with a special flight booked for Eastern Staters and great support from the town's Newmont Boddington Gold mine," he said.

Smith said he was looking forward to the onslaught of Australia's mightiest rodeo performers.

"I'm riding in good form and will be mentally and physically tough," he said.

Bull stock contractor Nick Mullane, of Australind, said he would be bringing some raging bulls to Boddington, including Black Ice.

Appropriately named, the dark slippery bull, which has been unridden since its debut last year, threw two riders at Boyup Brook and put one in hospital.

Rodeo announcer Pat McNamara was not lying when he said bull riding was one of the world's most dangerous sports.

Also finding form at Boyup Brook was bareback rider Peter Price, of Clackline, who gave full credit to his draw, Guess, a horse with exceptional bucking ability.

"Bronc riders respect a horse that can win them a few extra points," he said.

Taking second in both the saddle bronc and bareback and equal second in the open bull ride, Wade McCarthy is gearing up for a top finish at Boddington.

Making a debut in WA, US cowboy Justin Miller, of Billings, Montana, who is currently standing fourth in his State's pro-rodeo circuit, finished equal fourth in the bareback. Miller will also compete at Boddington.

Another top performance was from Mark Maxwell, who won the rope-and-tie event and partnered up with Brett Sherlock to take out the team-roping top-prize pool money. "I am looking forward to the Australian championships, but I'm aiming to keep a level head, mostly for the sake of my young horse," he said.

Maxwell's wife Melissa won the steer undecorating category in the fast time of 2.83 seconds.

In the women's breakaway roping, Rachel Wan had the steer roped off in the fastest time of 13.74 seconds.

A field of 22 open barrel racers each took a turn guiding their horses around the obstacle course.

Cowgirl Bronwyn Hill stopped to clock for the quickest time at 20.48 seconds.

Her daughter Taya won the juvenile barrel race in a time of 19.92 seconds.

Jason Klarich won the steer wrestling, freezing the clock at 10.34 seconds.

Boyup Brook was also the training ground for upcoming rodeo stars, including junior poddy rider Tyrell Smith and junior barrel racer Hunta Gallacher, both winning their respective events.

After the final event, the rodeo crowd was entertained with country music and the warming bonfires which kept the party going well into the evening.

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