The Cootamundra Rodeo returns on Saturday, and a revamped event won’t just showcase bucking bulls and broncs. All rodeo disciplines, including the rope and tie, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, ladies’ breakaway, and plenty of events for juniors, will take centre stage in the Cootamundra Rodeo arena. Conducted under the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) banner, the $2000 Tom Mitchell Memorial Open Bull Ride will headline the program, and other feature events include the $2000 Open Saddlebronc, $2000 Team Roping event, while there will be well over $20,000 on offer across 19 events. Entries closed on Monday, and Cootamundra Rodeo President Mick Axsentieff was thrilled with the support shown by competitors from all over NSW and from other states.

 

“I know the last time I checked, the numbers were up around 350 or 360 entries, and we just had all our lights reinstalled just in case we have to go into the night,” Axsentieff said. “It’s the first time we’ve hosted a full event in 30 years, and previously, it’s just been rough stock, but on Saturday, we’ll have steer roping, rope and tie, calf roping, team roping, breakaway and barrel racing.” It will be a big day, with the thrills and spills kicking off early at 8 a.m. while the feature event takes centre stage at 2 p.m. “We’ll have plenty going on, and it starts nice and early,” Axsentieff said.

 

“There is the sideshow alley if the kids get bored, and that will be for the smaller kids, with a jumping castle, merry-go-round, and a few rides that have hung around after the show. “We’ll have giveaways during the day, including commemorative things, stubby holders and things like that.” The new-look Cootamundra Rodeo didn’t happen overnight, with Axsentieff and his committee working hard and investing in their facility.

 

“We’ve got a committee of 15 men and women and a brand new set up to show off, with new yards and races,” Axsentieff said. “Plus, the Cowboys can stand up and look over the chutes and not behind them because we’ve built them up with a concrete block that we’ve backfilled, and now they are looking right down over the arena.

“It’s been a lot of work, but the committee from the last rodeo put the money back into the place, and the community has been fantastic. “It costs about $50,000 to $60,000 to run a rodeo when you add up prizemoney, which includes bringing stock in, the food and drinks, security, and all those things, and the local business houses have got right behind the event.” The arena is also ready for a big day of rodeo action, and Axsentieff and his committee are excited to show off their facility. “It’s one of the best arenas around; just ask any competitor or contractor, and it used to be the home of the National Finals,” Axsentieff said.

 

“You’ve got the hill surrounding it where people can sit, and the council has been out here, grading the arena, and it’s in great condition.” Leading into a big Saturday is the Thursday night street parade. There will be an old stagecoach led by Clydesdale horses and Australia’s oldest competitive cowboy, Bob Holder. Add to that, there will be cowboys, cowgirls, and protection athletes on show in their competition attire, along with horses, classic cars, and sponsors, while many businesses down the main street will extend their business hours to cater for the street parade. “The street parade is going to be great, Axsentieff said.

“We’ve got a big colouring in competition, and kids from Temora, Harden, Junee and Cootamundra entered, and that’s where the winner will be announced.” For those looking to get down to the Cootamundra Rodeo, there will be courtesy buses running all day from the Ex-Services Club, while that night, the Luke Combs tribute show will keep patrons entertained.