I channeled my inner cowgirl and headed off for a weekend of red dirt and rodeo watching!
Mullewa is usually a quiet town located 450 kilometres north of Perth. However when the annual Muster and Rodeo is on it attracts thousands of people to the town. Many of the contestants are from interstate and there were even a number of overseas competitors. All putting their skills to the test to win some prize money by competing in various events over the weekend.
On our road trip we were lucky enough to spot an echidna crossing the road. The children were fascinated with his sharp spikes and slender snout. We spent time admiring this interesting creature before it slowly made it’s way back into the bush.
We arrived on the Friday night and camped right near the action! I was surprised at the influx of people who filled the normally quiet small town of Mullewa. Our tent was set up on the edge of the town oval so we were ready to hit the ground running!
Woken to the sounds of horses neighing and V8 engines revving. Some overzealous competitors letting everyone hear the roar of their engine before they entered their Utes in the Beaut Ute Comp.
A majority of the crowd were dressed in their favourite pair of jeans, cowboy boots and Akubra hats! Ready for some action and a good weekend in the country.
The day started off at 8am and the morning events were mainly for juniors and novice bull riders. It was a great way to get an understanding about all the events and how they worked.
Away from the Rodeo Arena there was other entertainment as well as ute and whip crackin’ competitions.
The official opening and Grand Parade was on at 1pm and that is when the real action started. They didn’t muck around and got straight into it with a Bull Riding competition. Bull Riding would have to be the most popular event and by far the most dangerous.
We got our posy for the day and set up our camp chairs right next to the arena. We were close to the action with animals coming extremely close to the fence. Plus on the odd occasion we were even sprayed with red dirt from the horses.
I must admit there were a few events that made me feel sorry for the calves. Like Team Roping where they are in pursuit of a runaway steer. One of the jobs of the cowboy is to rope the steers horns while the other cowboy ropes the steers hind legs.
The other event is Steer Wresting where a man drops from the side of a galloping horse onto a running steer and throws him to the ground.
I much preferred the female version where the cowgirl has to catch up to the steer and remove a ribbon attached to its back.
All the steers got up and walked away without any injury. It is also reassuring to know that a vet is at the event checking over the animals. However it was not the same for the bull riders and rodeo clowns!
Most of the bull riders came away unscathed however there was one who was not so lucky. There is a rope strap which attaches a mans hand to the bull. One of the competitors strap must have been on too tight as his hand was caught in the rope. When he fell off he was dragged around by the bull and eventually he came loose but the bull showed him who was boss. The medics were on the scene in no time and he was taken away in the ambulance.
I was amazed at the speed of the rodeo clowns and how they managed to get out of the bulls way. They were ducking, weaving and ushering the bulls out of the ring. Unfortunately one of the Rodeo clowns did not get out of the bulls path and was stomped on. He walked out of the arena but he did not look like he was in a good way.
The bull riders must have nerves of steel to climb on the back of a bull and hold on for dear life! The bull rider must stay on top of the bull for 8 seconds to count as a qualified ride. The riders are then awarded points by two judges.
There were plenty of other events in the Arena such as Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc and Barrel Racing. I enjoyed the barrel racing, it is a female event where the rider must ride in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels. The race is timed and if they knock over a barrel time is added to their score.
Once the rodeo was over it was time for a quick bite to eat and there was a vast array of food vans to choose from. Once our bellies were full we headed over to the country music concert.
Country music may not be to everyone’s taste but I actually really love country music. I think it has something to do with my upbringing. I would often go to work with dad in his truck and listen to his Country and Western tapes.
For a small town they managed to secure an amazing line up of award winning artists. The concert had a great family vibe with lots of people on picnic blankets and the ones who wanted to party could head to the bar!
Amber Lawrence started the show and also threw in a few songs for the children. Troy Cassar-Daley was up next and the singing from the crowd was astounding. They knew all the words to the songs.
My children could not hold out anymore as it had been a long day and they were ready for bed. I listed to Adam Harvey while I was snuggled up in my sleeping bag laying in the tent. While I didn’t see him perform he sounded great and I could tell the crowd was getting behind him.
The event went off without a hitch and ran to perfection. There was always something happening and there was no waiting around for some action. I know that the Mullewa Muster and Rodeo is run by a group of volunteers and they did an amazing job. These small towns are dying and it is great to see that such a small community can put together a spectacular weekend.
The thing I miss most about living in the country is the community spirit. The people of Mullewa should be so proud to hold such an event that attracts large numbers and famous music artists.
Everyone enjoyed the event and there was no trouble with the crowd. It is true, there ain’t nothing like a country crowd!