We were lucky enough to be in Katherine for their annual show; equivalent to a British County Show, with added funfair and rodeo. The evening rodeo was our highlight (the image here is taken from ABC News footage), but the riders were not in the same class as those we had seen in Fort Worth, Texas.
No riders were able to stay on their bucking bronco or bull for the full eight seconds and when one was unlucky enough to be trodden on and lay unmoving on the ground, he was stretchered off with an almost casual approach. Rodeo organiser Russell Green said: “I think one or two of them may have walked away with a broken wrist and some are bandaged pretty heavily.”
In a country where there are so many ways of dying in the wild, Australians have an almost nonchalant approach to danger, but riding a bucking bronco or bull must be one of the highest risk sports. And, of course, some people might say it’s cruel to the animals.
However, it was good to be part of a local tradition and see cowboy – and cowgirl – skills perpetuated in an age when it would be easier on ranches to use quad bikes.