Rodeo thriller for Woolorama finale

Report, photos Bob GarnantCountryman

As the sun set on the last day of Wagin Woolorama's 40th anniversary year, a large crowd gathered to hoot and holler - it was time to celebrate, it was time to rodeo.

The competitors were pumped as the rodeo fans filled the ground to witness the thrills and spills of the evening.

First into the arena were the dare devil trick riders - young athletic girls who hung off their horses every which way they could.

They were inspirational, going for broke, risking life and limb in the name of entertainment. But that was only a taste of what was to come.

Rodeo steward Arthur Pederick then blessed all the competitors with a special reading of the rodeo prayer.

He asked for divine intervention because when the sport comes to town, it brings with it plenty of danger.

During the grand entrance, the four-member drill team galloped on horseback, proudly carrying the flags of the rodeo nations.

Meanwhile, open bull competitor Peter Kerekes was building up the courage required to take on one of the most ferocious beasts on the planet, a bull called Money Talks.

After roping his hand onto the 1200kg-plus bucking machine, it was no looking back for the cowboy as the chute opened to the roar of the crowd.

In a few split seconds, Kerekes was bucked off but his hand remained hung-up in the bull rope, only to be released by a swift sideswipe from the beast.

The next very dangerous moment took place after Kerekes fell to the ground on his knees straight into the bull's path.

After being hit as if by a freight train, Kerekes found himself in a precarious position beneath the bouncing bull's full weight.

He managed a quick escape that saved injury but with no score on the board, the prize money was out of his grasp.

This time, the bull was the victor and the ornery bucking beast showed its anger by head-butting the fence.

The question then was who would be first to show a bull who was boss.

The answer didn't take long - John Turner on Dirty Deed made it look so easy.

Judges awarded his required eight-second ride with a score of 56 but Turner would have to hold onto his hat for top bragging rights because rounds two and three were still to come.

Meanwhile, climbing aboard the bucking horse Happy 8, it was Wade McCarthy's turn to hang five in the rodeo arena.

They don't come any tougher then the veteran cowboy and his classy ride put him on the leader board in the bareback event with 68 points.

McCarthy was later declared the winner after the other competitors had a go but none could match the rough rider's score.

The sport of rodeo involves knowing how to throw ropes and at Wagin it was not limited to any sexual discrimination among the competitors.

Cowgirl Tammy Kinney had her lasso around a calf in no time to claim victory in the breakaway and followed this up with the fastest time in the steer undecorating.

While the girls showed their skill with the rope, it was roping partners Grant Edwards and Stephen Renshaw who lassoed both horns and legs of a calf in just 11.13 seconds to win in the team's event.

In other events, Duane Fuller was best in the rope and tie and Zach Kealy won the steer wrestling.

Open bull round two resulted in Cameron Day scoring a big 70 points to set a challenge for the remaining riders.

In the saddle bronc, cowboy Rhys Morrissey scored a comfortable 68-point winning ride.

A big field of 14 barrel racers then were out to 'chase the cans' and it was Melissa Maxwell who wound her horse up to go the fastest, freezing the clock at 14.98 seconds.

Last round of the open bulls drew Tyrell Smith out of the chutes on Fair Dinkum and he did not disappoint.

The tough competitor was slow to pick himself up after being dumped off a bronc in an earlier event but he drew on true grit to match 70 points and a share of the win with fellow competitor Cameron Day.

The Woolorama rodeo continues to be one of the most exciting crowd pleasers on the event calendar and organisers thanked all the fans for their loyal attendance and support.

Rodeo co-ordinator Stacey Lambert said the popular event would be back next year, bigger than ever.

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