FAMILY FUN: Emerald Rodeo Association president Shane Kenny was impressed with the calibre of riders at the Emerald Easter Sunflower Rodeo.
FAMILY FUN: Emerald Rodeo Association president Shane Kenny was impressed with the calibre of riders at the Emerald Easter Sunflower Rodeo. Aaron Goodwin

Rodeo ropes in great crowd

RODEO: This year's Emerald Easter Sunflower Rodeo was one of biggest yet, with thousands of people pouring through the gates to watch the action.

Emerald Rodeo Association president Shane Kenny said the event drew a "really good” crowd of around 1400 people.

"It was good for the little arena ... In the old days when they had a bigger arena, I think they used to get a bigger crowd,” he said.

The spectators witnessed a great night of sport, with two bull riders reaching the qualifying time of eight seconds.

"The bulls were really good - they were first class. They performed well and some of the boys put up a big effort,” Mr Kenny said.

"One young fella from Mt Isa went 7.8 (seconds) and got bucked off right on the whistle. He was in with a big score but just fell a little bit short.”

One of the riders who made the qualifying time was Australian champion bull rider Brodie Fielder, who Mr Kenny said was from around the Central Highlands area.

Current Australian team roping champion pair Campbell Hodson and Liam Davidson took out the night's team roping event and Hodson went on to win the rope and tie event.

Mr Kenny said a few people also came close to beating Australian records.

"I think the breakaway rope - the Australian record is 1.8 (seconds) - and I think they won it on a 2.1 (seconds) and or 2.2 (seconds), so they weren't far off it,” he said.

"The breakaway roping was really strong. It ranged from about 2.2 (seconds) that won it to 2.6 (seconds) or 2.7 (seconds) might have been the last place.

"So between first and fifth there was really nothing.”

However, the riders in the saddle bronc category did not fare so well.

"There were only two qualified rides in the saddle bronc - the horses really performed well,” Mr Kenny said.

"They were probably a bit strong for the boys. The boys were still in Christmas mode, I think.”

Overall, Mr Kenny said everyone had a great time at the event.

"The weather was kind - it must have been a big day down there at the races because a lot of people came across from the races - so it was a really good family atmosphere and everyone had a great time,” he said.

"That's the reason that we do it all. It is a family sport that we're trying to get going.”

Mr Kenny said he hoped the association could work with Central Highlands Regional Council to further improve the rodeo facilities.