Derby Rodeo

derby rodeo sign
We were keen to see one outback rodeo on this trip. Derby was recommended by our fishing guide on the Ord river, who used to ride. So we returned to Derby again. We feel like we know this place like the back of our hand now! It was a fantastic weekend. It’s a macho sport and not particularly kind to animals so I shouldn’t like it, but I just can’t take my eyes off the action! The horsemanship is actually my favourite part. Watching the skill of the clowns and the pick up riders was just as interesting as the rest.


derby rodeo grounds
Most people took their position under the big trees on this hot weekend.
steve mezmerized while in with the babies
We set up our chairs under the trees which ended up looking like a day care centre with all the families coming to watch. Steve sat surrounded by babies and coped quite well
station kids
Cute station kids watching the action on the fence.
cute kids
More cute kids watching the action.
yum a snow cone
I mostly sat up at the top of the stand with the kids as it was the best spot with the best view. It was also the hottest and it was 34deg C! There was a steady stream of junk food happening all day up there and in the end even I had to get one of those shaved ice bowls!
old cowboy
There were plenty of old cowboys in the crowd.


cute little dude
Tiny station kids looking cute!

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The Station Buckjump above is a Kimberly invention. The cowboy rides his Bronc on a normal everyday saddle and must crack his whip at least 2 times in the ride while also staying on his bucking Bronc. This was quite hard to do as few could even manage to crack the whip and balance.

advertise on your chaps
The pickup riders were there to pick up the rider if he managed to ride the 8 minutes or to grab the bucking bronc and get him out of the way of the rider who has just been thrown off. A dangerous job needing some very good riders and horses. They even advertise on their chaps.
successful rider being picked up
This guy managed to stay on the 8 seconds on the broc ride and is being picked up and off the still bucking horse by the pick up riders.

catching a wild one

nice chaps
There were a lot of  frilly chaps out there!



waiting in the chute
The colourful chutes were very photogenic.




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Barrel Racing above. There was a Ladies version and an open but the girls were better at this event.


catching a wild one 2

rodeo clowns
The rodeo clowns having a rest. A very serious job. The clown distracts the bull to allow the rider to get out of the way once they fall off. They call themselves bull fighters and they really are. They run towards the bucking bronc or bull getting ready to protect the rider and distract the bull with their red tops once they fall off. They are well padded against being horned. The barrel they can put between themselves and the bull or jump into it if they need to.
waiting his turn
A rider in the chute waiting his turn.
bull rider 3
The clowns running around to face the bull so it is distracted by them and hopefully does not hurt the rider. The riders seem to know how to fall off well and get out of the way quickly as not many were hurt.
rodeo clown on backwards
This clown was clowning around riding a junior bull backwards. He stayed on a very long time too!
bull rider 2
The rider must stay on for 8 sec. His left hand is used for balance and cannot touch the bull, gear or himself or it is called a “touch down” and  he is disqualified. There were 2 woman riders in the junior bull riding.
go the clown
Always amazing how close the clowns get to the action to keep the riders safe by distracting the bull. They had very good reflexes. For me they were as interesting to watch as the riders.

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The above shots are from the Bull Riding, Station Buckjump, Saddle Bronc and Bareback Bronc.

condom cowboy at the bar area gave out free condoms
This was the “condom cowboy” who was in the bar area. He gave out free condoms as a public health strategy fighting STDS which are a big problem out here.
health ad at the bar
Always on the lookout for health education. This poster in the bar area.

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The above were some of the best riders of the day. They are all Aboriginals and before white man came and took their land they had never even seen a horse! It was nice to see pride in the crowd for these guys and in the riders themselves.

team roping
Team roping looked pretty hard and there was some great riding.
kids race
In the middle of the day on Sunday all the kids were allowed in the arena for a race.
I had never seen modern day spurs up close before. They are pretty but I’m sure the animals are not impressed which is the whole point I guess.
big bull
This scene just looks wrong but it’s actually a station bull  that was hand raised by this family.
happy on a bull
And this is how you get these guys to ride so well. Start them young. You could see this baby was comfortable on the bull.
presenter derby rodeo
The presenter looked more like a surfer.
steer wrestling 1
Steer wrestling looked pretty hard and the horse had to be highly trained do some amazing riding. It had to go from a stop to a full gallop as soon as the steer was released.
steer wrestling 2
The cowboy has to slide off the horse at a flat gallop and take the steer my the horns. Very few could do this.



ambulance waiting for business
The ambulance was backed up to the gate and ready for business. Despite how bad some of these falls looked nobody was badly hurt and these guys were only called on once!
off to the ambulance
The ambulance finally got some business. This guy fell wrong or had a bull stomp on his ankle. He needed an MRI but there was probably not even an Xray technician in Derby that weekend! I noticed he was still smiling even sitting on the back of the ambulance.
kids going nuts 2
The best part of the whole day for the kids was after the rodeo when they ran onto the arena and climbed all over the chutes and pretended to be cows.


derby sunset
At the end of the day we went down to the jetty for the sunset!

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