Rodeo has come a long way since summer of '69
IT WAS back in the summer of '69 that the Alstonville rodeo was first held.
And current president of the Alstonville Rodeo Club, Tony Rippon, is proud that his father, Noel, and uncle, Ward, were on the committee to bring the first action-packed event to the Plateau.
The action hasn't stopped since - except for the occasional year where the weather intervened - and Tony Rippon said this year's rodeo, to be held at the Alstonville showgrounds today, will be just as heart-stopping as the others.
Mr Rippon said the North Coast has changed over the years and moved away from a rural, agricultural community to a more urbanised one.
But the rodeo brings the bush skills of barrel racing, bareback horse riding and bull riding to the showground.
"When I was a teenager, we could go to about 25 rodeos on the North Coast, and now there is only four or five,” Mr Rippon said.
"They're not the kind of thing you see every day.”
The open bull riding will see riders try and stay on a beast that could weigh as much as 800kg for eight seconds.
Mr Rippon said it was expected that some of the top riders of Northern NSW and south-east Queensland will be competing.
Homegrown professional bull rider, Josh Lock is expected to compete.
Mr Rippon said the Alstonville showground provided a venue where the crowd could get "up close and personal” to the action, and feel the thunder of the hooves of horses and bulls in the arena.
"When you've got bulls that close, it will get the adrenalin pumping, even when you're in the crowd,” he said.
Other events in the 13 on the program include second division bull riding, junior bull riding and steer wrestling.
The gates open at 11am for a noon start, with the open bull riding to be held from 4pm.
The rodeo will run into the early evening.
Tickets cost $20 for an adult and $40 for a family.