Some of the world’s top bull riders today gave the 53rd Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo an unanimous seal of approval.
The champion competitors are in the Isa for the highlight of this weekend’s rodeo – the Country of Origin Bull Ride, which will bring the largest and richest rodeo in the southern hemisphere to an unforgettable finish this afternoon.
According to the four-time Canadian “All-round Champion” Steven Turner, the Mount Isa Rodeo and its home ground, the magnificent floodlit Buchanan Park was “among the fanciest rodeo grounds I’ve seen.”
“It’s a really friendly rodeo,” said Steven. “A lot of the guys here I’ve seen competing in Canada.”
Although there is plenty of camaraderie among the cowboys out of the arena, when the chutes open, their focus is total as they fight to stay on a bucking bull in one of the fastest and dangerous sports in the world.
“It’s pretty much a blur,” said Steven, of competing. “If you think about what you have to do, it’s already too late,” he said.
Brazilian competitor Joao Henrique, who is currently leading the International Pro Rodeo (IPR)/Brasil 2010/11 standings, through an interpreter, said he was very impressed with the event.
“It’s very different from Brazil,” he said. “You have a permanent stage instead of building a temporary stadium like we do in Brazil. I like it here, it is beautiful.”
The 21-year-old, who is on his first international trip, has a family heritage of bull riding.
“My father was a bull rider, it is in my blood,” he said.
Representing New Zealand in the Country of Origin Bull Ride is their current open bull rider Adam Jamison while Australia’s representative is Troy Mara, the country’s current champion.
Australia’s Pro Rodeo Association General Manager Steve Hilton said the Country of Origin bull was a rare opportunity to see up close this calibre of world-class bull riding.
The three-day event finishes tonight (Sunday, August 14). Rodeo manager Tricia Esdaile said crowds were up on last year, and more than 600 nominations had been received.
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