Rodeo rides into Ballarat

NO BULL, you could be watching people propelled off the back of a steer this weekend. 

A professional rodeo will be held in Ballarat at the polo cross grounds as part of the Australian Pro Rodeo series this Saturday.

Southern Cross Rodeo committee president and event organiser Bruce Marsh said the day would be one of a kind and a family-friendly day. 

“Two rodeos were held at the showgrounds about three years ago, but we haven’t had any in the area since then,” Marsh said. 

“We used to have them every year in Ballan, but we haven’t had one there for a few years either.”

Marsh said the day would be filled with many entertaining shows, but the bull ride was usually the main attraction. 

“The bull ride is really what people come to see, to see that danger. And it’s not dangerous for the bull, just the rider,” Marsh said. 

“The bulls are hand picked, so when they come out, they’re ready to go like Muhammad Ali.”

But that wasn’t his only recommendation. 

“The saddle bronc is a great event, because riders have to really use their legs, as with the bull riding, they just have to hang on,” he said. 

“The girls barrel race is fantastic to watch, it’s like a Melbourne Cup because they’re racing against the clock, and they have to beat each other by the millisecond.”

Marsh has been involved in rodeos for about 40 years and will be competing in the roping event.

“Rodeos really show people the skills of the horses,” he said. 

“There are people coming from Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia to compete in the event.”

Some of the 10 events include saddle bronc, bare back, junior bell races and bull rides.

The event will attract 235 competitors, all aiming to do well to earn a spot in the national finals later in the year. 

About 20 juniors from the area will compete in the barrel races, and about 30 locals will participate in the steer rides. 

“One of the best announcers in Australia will be coming down from Queensland for the event.”

The day will also include a live band, a mini-carnival and other child-friendly activities and camping facilities for those who want to stay the night. 

The event will raise money for the Riding Disabled Association and Beyond Blue. 

Tickets will be available on the day at the gate.