Sunday, 12 March 2017

Queanbeyan entertainments (part 1)

I spent the afternoon of 11 March visiting a couple of spots in - or at least named after - Queanbeyan.
The first of these was the Queanbeyan Water Quality Treatment Plant (aka the poo pits).  Despite the name they are actually in the ACT suburb of Beard.  The highlights here were a Musk Duck (Bird of the Day) and a Great Cormorant nest with 2 chicks visible at times.

My main purpose in visiting the town was to attend the annual Rodeo.
When I arrived (about 1440) there was a pretty reasonable crowd in attendance.  I thought the four classes of seating (VIP marquee; seats in the grandstand - good view, and shady but a bit far away from the arena; temporary grandstand - close to the arena but no shade; and straw bales)were interesting sociologically.

The sideshows were not getting much patronage at this stage.
Approaching matters thematically, by the time I left (1620) the crowd was much larger, with the temporary grandstand full.  Note the clown (Big Al) sitting on the fence.
This drone was surprisingly inoffensive and seemed to be giving good images of the action on the big screen.
These guys were described in the program as 'Safety clowns' but the announcer called them bull fighters as their main job was to distract the bulls from attacking fallen riders. Unlike quite a few spectators they were very fit, having quite an incentive - such as a tonne of grumpy Brahman - to move quickly.
These two are the comedy clowns.  I'm not sure what was going to happen with the hessian doll.
Big Al didn't ride a bull while I was there, but been inserted into an Ostrich .
I think this is one of the beasts from the steer undecorating, showing that the grass is  greener ...
Quite a pretty horse, especially with the braided mane and tail.
The bulls in their pen before the riding started. They looked quite predictable to me: grumpy.
An overview of the Showground from the top of the temporary stand.
Arena preparation was partly by hand ..
.. and partly by the equivalent of a Zamboni, of which two versions were in play.

The first event I watched was the junior steer riding.  The riders entered the arena from the same chutes as the big boys.  It intrigued me that nearly everyone wore white hats rather than the brown felt Akubras.
Young person going well.
Different young person not going well.  This was described by the announcer as "getting roughed up".
He was on the ground for a bit but was able to walk off.
This YP didn't last very long!
After the steer riding the next event was steer undecorating.  The basic idea is that a Longhorn Steer bolts into the arena with a pink ribbon on its back.  A female horse-rider tries to grab the ribbon before they splat into the rails at the far end of the arena.
Additional trickiness is added by trying not to impale yourself or your horse on the long horns.

Personally I reckon there's a lot of skill, and not a little courage, in that branch of the sport.

The main bull riding events were slated for late in the evening.  However I did get to see the first round of the Junior Bull Riding.  Here we have a rider getting prepped in the chute.  The actual rider is just visible - note white helmet indicated by tearrow!
Oops.  Note clown moving in to distract the bull.
Going well.
Also going well.

Just going!
All up I reckon it was a very enjoyable event.  From looking at the attire my guess is that a high proportion of the spectators were of a rustic persuasion, rather than the denizens of Queanbeyan.

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