The first event on the Western Australian run was a rodeo and camp draft at Halls Creek. This small town is situated 380 k's south of Kununurra on the Great Northern Highway, real Kimberley country and a pretty staunch mob reside out this way and they have to be, it's a long way from anywhere so are somewhat isolated, they just get on with life the way they know best. We were given a warm welcome on arrival and told that if we needed assistance in any way then just give them a call. That's how it happens in the outback. Down south they don't even say hello, instead its, you can't park there, tie your dog up and make sure your leads are tagged or we will cut the ends off. Bush rodeos and camp drafts generally don't attract many traders and here, apart from my set up there was Steve and Bernise Arney from Circle B and Neil and Roz Bryce with Rozbys Gear with their gooseneck display trailer. Even though we compete for the same available dollar at an event like this we are still pretty good mates and enjoy a few cold beers together at the end of a days trading.
Competitor and spectator camps were set up all over the flat out behind the yards, they started arriving Thursday with the last of them leaving the following Monday. These Kimberley blokes really know how to enjoy a weekend away from the station. This is also a special weekend for the people from the communities, especially the kids. Their parents and relations make sure they are decked out with new boots, shirts, jeans and a cowboy hat. Those riding in the junior events may also get a vest, helmet, spurs and chaps. This year yard whips or boys whips were very popular, so much so in fact we all sold out on the second day. The boys gave them a nice old workout then kept Bernise and I busy making crackers for them, especially on the last day of the rodeo. In my mind, the feature event on the second day was the bareback draft, this really showed off the skills of the Kimberly stockman. The pictures demonstrate this showing riders with good kind hands and the horses responding being better balanced and enjoying their work. Maybe a lot more schooling should be done this way. Line up for the bare back draft.
Watching the events throughout the weekend it was obvious the skills of the young ringers over this way are up there with the best. Apparently they spend more time on horses in the stock camps than those further east and their tutors being the station owners, contractors and head stockman are passing on sound Kimberly stock husbandry skills are doing a pretty good job with these young people. The last day and a half was dedicated to rodeo and I'm sure half the people in the Kimberly s turned up, a huge crowd who supported the riders and pick up teams with applause and plenty of vocal encouragement from vantage points all around the ground on rails, deck chairs, tail gates and car roof tops. Looking good here.