The Weipa Rodeo is a community celebration unlike any other. Founded in 2003 by passionate Weipa residents who wanted to contribute to the community and bring a rodeo-type event to Cape York, the event has grown into one of Weipa’s biggest annual social events.
The Rodeo committee comprises approximately 40 volunteers who pride themselves on running aprofessional, safe, inclusive and entertaining family event. We’re immensely proud of the fantasticreputation our event has earned and the strong community support it engenders.
Since its inception, the organizing committee’s dedication, passion and commitment has seen the Bull Ride achieve year-on-year growth and success. Literally hundreds of hours are volunteered by each person involved in staging this great family event; committee members’ partners, children and extended family members all pitch in and help.
Transforming the Andoom Special Events/Football oval into safe and fit-for-purpose bull-ride grounds is a massive undertaking. 2021 was our first year with the permanent grounds set up, which has been a massive effort to get to where it is. This has required but not limited to setting up temporary lighting, fencing, grandstands, signage and arena. While establishing permanent back yards, planting trees for shade for coming years, getting the grass to grow and getting toilets clean and functional for the 2021 event. And while we aren’t quite there with the permanency, we got it to a point where we held our most successful Bull Ride to date.
Rodeo attendance numbers increased to more than 4500 locals and visitors attending over the weekend and the entire local business community enjoys the benefit of these additional numbers. 2021 saw over 100 individual rides each on the Friday and again on the Saturday night, which included 100 junior competitors. There were more than 100 children attend the free Junior Bull Riding School, held on the Thursday prior to the event. Under the experienced eye of many committee members, this coaching clinic taught young riders the fundamentals of safe participation. Special mention of the 13 Weipa Rodeo Charity Cowboy/Cowgirl Ambassadors which fundraised $3890 for the Prostate Foundation of Australia.
Unique to Weipa Rodeo, the committee purchases all requisite safety gear for junior competitors. Junior riders borrow the committee’s safety equipment, thus allowing them to participate without the significant financial outlay usually incurred (Helmets: $190; safety vest: $300, riding gloves: $80; ropes: $220!) This community-focused succession-planning initiative helps ensure the future of the event through nurturing interested local juniors.
Rodeo events including Poddy ride, Junior Steer Ride, Junior Bullock Ride, Men and Women Chute Dogging, Ringers Ironman Challenge, Open Bullock Ride, Novice Bullride, Open Bullride and the new Bushman’s Buckjump event attract participants from across Cape York and throughout North Queensland. Additional attractions include live music, lolly toss, dance competitions and many novelty events specifically for children. The majority of the crowd stayed and enjoyed the band each evening. Attending QPS and security staff reported positively on crowd behaviour.
The committee honours the traditional owners of the land on which the event is held. As an opening to the event, descendants of traditional owners welcome visitors to country and the Australian National Anthem is sung. Riders on horseback carry the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Australian flags around the arena. Not only a celebration of Weipa life and an opportunity for the community to come together in a fun, family-friendly environment, profits from the Weipa Rodeo directly benefit the local community. 2020 saw multiple challenges due to COVID restrictions, however we managed to contribute $10 000 to the Weipa Showground Development, a local project with aims to benefit multiple community organisations and $500 to Charlie’s Leukaemia Journey. In 2021 – $7500 was donated back to the community with the addition of $3980 to the Prostate Foundation of Australia and $35000 grant to the Weipa Showground Development.