It’s Rodeo Week in the Rose City
RIDERS from around Australia have converged on the Rose City for the famous Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft which gets under way today.
And the cowboys and cowgirls are well and truly ready to wow the 30,000-plus visitors expected to walk through the gates of the Warwick Showgrounds this week, with their bull-bucking, rope-tying and campdrafting skills.
Campdrafting chairman Brian Boyce said considering the current drought situation he had been expecting numbers for this year's event to be down.
"We have been blown away with the number of entrants," he said.
"We have competitors from the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and even South Australia.
"It is amazing considering the drought in parts of Queensland and New South Wales.
"Some people's properties are just dust and dirt.
"They know they should be staying at home, but they are using this as a way to get away from it."
The record number of ladies campdrafting entries is the cherry on the cake.
Mr Boyce put the increase down to more people falling in love with the sport.
"There are a lot of people with smaller sized blocks that now have horses," he said.
"They are just looking for something they can do on the weekends.
"It is also a real family sport with a lot of people travelling together. They make coming to this their annual holiday."
This year's campdrafting entry list proves just how family orientated the sport is.
"There are lots of families competing this year," Mr Boyce said.
"Right through the list there are groups with two, right up to five, family members all competing."
Thanks to rodeo and campdrafting tickets being available online for the first time Warwick Show and Rodeo Society secretary Kate Andersen said it was not just the competitors coming from all over Australia for this year's action-packed event.
"We have sold tickets to people in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and a lot to people in Brisbane," she said.
"Even locals have been getting online to get their tickets early."
It is not just the show society keeping track of where this year's visitors are coming from.
Warwick Visitor and Information Centre tourism officer Madonna Pacek said it would be hard to find a place in Australia visitors to this year's campdraft and rodeo had not travelled from.
This weekend alone Ms Pacek and the volunteers at the VIC had had people from Brisbane, Ipswich, New South Wales and even north Queensland through their doors - all looking for somewhere to stay this week.
Ms Pacek said she would not be surprised if there was a record number of visitors to go alongside the record number of competitors.
"I would certainly say it is busier than last year," she said.
"At the moment hotels on Friday and Saturday are looking very full, which is pretty good.
"Even the caravan sites are booked up."
Mr Boyce said there was no way they would have been able to support the large number of entrants without the generous donations of stock for the event.
"We have had people from over the border, places like St George and Dalby and a lot of locals donate cattle. Close to 4000 head of cattle will be used over the week," he said.
"But there are also people looking after them, providing cheap feed and keeping them up to scratch."
Both Mr Boyce and Ms Andersen said there was no way to say thank you to all the volunteers who make the campdraft and rodeo run smoothly.
"Many of them take the week off from their jobs as holidays so they can be here to help all week," Ms Andersen said.
10am: CG Welding/Maydan Feedlot Ladies Silver Cup
6am: Supafloat Canning Downs
12.30pm: Black Toyota Warwick Gold Cup
6am: Black Toyota Warwick Gold Cup
Noon: Supafloats Canning Downs
6pm: State Challenge Campdraft