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 a
professional, safe, inclusive and entertaining family event. We’re immensely proud of the fantastic
reputation 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 rodeo 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.
2022 saw even more improvements with steel lighting poles, underground services, sprinklers in the back yards, painting of the secretary box, stairs, modifications to lighting poles for extra lights, permanent lighting in the back yards, data cables laid underground. Welded posts for projector screens, permanent services box that was ready for use for the Annual Fishing Classic, lighting racks to the internals for the permanent stage area for all users, Electrical pods and water stations for the vendors ready for fishing classic.
Rodeo attendance numbers increased to more than 7000 locals and visitors attending over the weekend and the entire local business community enjoys the benefit of these additional numbers.
2022 saw over 100 individual rides each on the Friday and again on the Saturday night, which included 100 junior competitors.
In 2022 the Weipa Rodeo Committee had a strong focus on inclusion for all. While we have always prided ourselves on making our event inclusive we aimed to broaden that thought. This saw the committee members head to Aurukun for a cultural experience where they attended the Aurukun State School. Taking down with them activities including roping, quoites, blow up bucking horses and bulls and the mechanical bucking bull. The children and teachers rotating through the activities to participate some Rodeo skills. The highlight was the mechanical bull with the safety gear. The Weipa Rodeo also donated the Aurukun community with nearly $20 000 worth of merchandise. The kids all looked the part.
While in Aurukun we also attended the old Library to have lunch with the community. We were fortunate to speak to the elders making grass skirts for an upcoming festival. They explained the process to us which was very insightful. As we left we were serenaded with song and dance and thanked for coming and bringing community spirit to Aurukun.
Weipa School Visits – The mechanical bull was also taken to Western Cape College where Troy Dunn spoke to the high school students about resilience and never giving up. The students then got to have a turn of the mechanical bull. Furthermore to visiting the school, the Weipa Rodeo Committee invited the children from all the primary schools from Napranum, weipa and Mapoon, kindy’s, day care centres to the rodeo grounds for an afternoon of activities including roping lessons, bucking bull, bouncing bulls, quoits and ended with the cattle coming into the arena.
Another part of our commitment to community engagement was to expand the free Junior Bull Riding School, held on the Thursday prior to the event to include all nominated riders in varying levels to help grow their talent before the event.
Under the experienced eye of many committee members, Troy Dunn and Professional Bull Riders, this coaching clinic taught young riders the fundamentals of safe participation, and our older riders ………… Live stock was used as part of the Free Rodeo School with Protection Athletes and Ambulance there to make sure everyone was safe.
With about 50 participants attend the Rodeo School throughout the day and more than 100 children attend the junior Rodeo School in the afternoon.
Cape of Origin – The New Event. Incorporated the entire cape.
Special mention of the 11 Weipa Rodeo Charity Cowboy/Cowgirl Ambassadors which
fundraised $5063.00. Royal Flights Doctor Service (Queensland Section)
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. Weipa Rodeo Association is always looking to improve the Weipa Showground Development, a local project with aims to benefit multiple community organisations. In 2022 we put in $13,000 to benefit the entire community.
In 2022 – $22000 was donated back into the community with the addition of over $5,000 donated to RFDS Qld Section.