By Scott Tisdall | Posted: Thursday September 14, 2017
A couple of weeks ago I went to Australia to represent New Zealand for rodeo. After 7 or so hours of travel from Christchurch to Brisbane to Rockhampton to Capella I was able to truly take in the idea that I was in Australia.
The next day we went to Capella rodeo. The arena was covered by a large roof unlike those in New Zealand, and because Australia's rodeo community is bigger I could clearly see the improvements such as the amount of competitors, the quality of stock, the smoothness of the rodeo and especially the skill of the competitors. We knew that beating Australia in the trans tasman challenge would not be easy.
By the time it had gotten around to my first breakaway run (separate to the challenge) I had the opportunity to warm up Dakota which is the horse that I would be riding for the next series of rodeos. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse, which I realised in my first run when he followed the calf with ease. After a couple of swings I caught the calf with a time of roughly 6 seconds. Sadly this wasn’t enough to get 4th or above so I wasn’t going to be making money at this rodeo.
Later that evening we had the trans tasman challenge where we competed against the Australian high school team. I broke the barrier (not giving the calf a big enough head start) but I was still able to catch my calf and get 4th with a 17 second run. Australia won that round, but the kiwis played valiantly considering they were off their home turf.
Over the next couple of days we were able to relax in a more rural part of Queensland. We went to an Australian farm to see how they do things over there. The heat was a killer and the land was dry. Apparently they hadn’t had rain there since December but there were still signs of life, such as the cattle, birds, desert trees and kangaroos. To my surprise kangaroos are a pest in Aussie and luckily we got a chance to see how they deal with them. The pests stood no chance against the hunters. After an hour of shooting and exploring in the land cruisers we had been able to kill 4 roos. That was an unforgettable experience.
The next rodeo was in Rock Hampden. It is called the Great Western and is half hotel half rodeo. Sadly this rodeo did not have time events because the arena is too small so there was no roping. Once again Australia came out on top but this time the gap between the teams’ points was much smaller.
After a couple days of exploring Rocky and what it had to offer as well as getting a few practice bulls for the bull riders to train on we headed to Yeppoon for the Yeppoon college rodeo. Now I want to emphasise the fact that the rodeo is inside a college and that Australian high schools have high school teams and interschools. First up was the interschool which contained 4 other schools from the area and the New Zealand team. The Australian teams went extraordinarily well in the interschool. I missed my calf in this run. In the actual rodeo Dakota performed extremely well once again and we were able to pull off a time of around 3 to 4 seconds. Sadly I was left in the crying hole with this time because I ended up just half a second behind 4th which is just out of the money. By the time it had gotten to the challenge the sun was starting to get low. New Zealand put up a strong fight, with each competitor giving it 100%. Australia pulled through with a very close score leaving the overall score to be 3-0 to Australia.
The whole trip was an amazing experience and I hope I get the chance to do it again. I learnt a lot about how rodeo is run in another country and meet a lot of different and friendly people.