NON-STOP ACTION: The 2019 Comet Benefit Rodeo is set to be bigger and better than previous years.
NON-STOP ACTION: The 2019 Comet Benefit Rodeo is set to be bigger and better than previous years. Photo: Cherie Reeves, Purple Fai

Rodeo to attract top cowboys

AN ANNUAL community event has raised close to $200,000 for children across the Central Highlands.

The Comet Benefit Rodeo is back for its 23rd year and is aiming to raise another $10,000 for Camp Quality, an Australian children's cancer charity made specifically to help children aged up to 13 years old who are dealing with their own diagnosis or the diagnosis of a family member.

Comet Benefit Rodeo President Wayne McGhee said if they reached their goal this year, the charity rodeo would have raised well over $150,000 in total.

He said the most rewarding part of the annual event was the Camp Quality kids, and seeing their faces light up throughout the day.

"That's definitely the best part is seeing the kids faces when they come along, the smile says it all,” Mr McGhee said.

"And the financial aspect, being able to help them out. Not only to the kids but their carers.

"They are people that have put their whole life aside to take care of these kids, and to bring them just a little bit of joy, you can tell that it's a pretty big deal to them.”

The rodeo has been a charity event from day one and has become "a big feather in the communities cap” and attracted some of the best cowgirls and cowboys from across the country.

Mr McGhee said the top local and interstate competitors would stop in on their way home from Mt Isa and put on a great show every year.

"The level of competition at comet is nothing short of astounding, the guys turn up and really perform,” he said.

A full rodeo program will be on show throughout the day, including bull riding, saddle bronc ride, bareback bronc ride, timed events including team roping, steer wrestling, rope and tie, ladies event barrel racing and ladies break away racing.

A big program of junior events would also take place, but Mr McGhee said the most popular event was always calcutta on the timed event shootouts.

Crowds will have the chance to get involved in the calcutta, and really become a part of the the event.

"It's a bit different, it's a bit quirky, but it goes down very well,” he said.

"You should definitely check it out, there's always a big group of people that want to be a part of it.”

There will also be plenty of music and live entertainment to keep crowds entertained at what is renowned as one of the regions "fun, family friendly rodeos”.

More than $30,000 worth of cash and prizes will be up for grabs throughout the day, for rodeo winners and attendees.

Mr McGhee said the prize pool wouldn't be possible without the sponsors, who also largely contribute to the success of the event.

"There's two things we cant do without, and that's people through the gate and our sponsors,” he said.

"So the more people that turn up, the more money we can give to Camp Quality would be fantastic.

"We ask that everyone who can turn up and help out comes along.”

Free camping will be available after the event at the Comet Showgrounds, allowing visitors to make the most of the night.

"It gives people the opportunity to have a few drinks and enjoy the rodeo without having to worry about driving, because the majority of people come from Blackwater and Emerald,” Mr McGhee said.

"Bring your tents and your swag, the weather is going to be perfect.”

The day will kick off from 11am on Saturday, September 7 at the Comet Showgrounds, with the main events from 6pm.

Mr McGhee said they were proud to make it a financially affordable event with tickets only $10 at the gate for those aged over 12-years, and free entry for children and pensioners.

Food and drinks will be available all day, with plenty of entertainment for all ages as well as the rodeo events.

Pack a picnic blanket and make the most of the large grassy hill around the arena.

"It's (Comet) not a big community, but to make it work for so many years is a great feeling, and we're proud to keep it going,” Mr McGhee said.