Fitzroy Valley Rodeo and beyond: WA, Australia

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Bull catching!…a very small Mickey mind

Although we’ve been fairly quiet on the blog recently, life has been full of exciting events like the Fitzroy Valley Campdraft and Rodeo. I’m current sat in a UTE waiting to refuel a helicopter with a young bull (these are called Mickey’s) tied up on my trailer. Little blighter wouldn’t stay with the mob so the lads found the perfect opportunity to take part in some bull catching. As you may have gathered, I’m still working as a Jillaroo on a cattle station in The Kimberley, Western Australia

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Camp at the rodeo

It’s my first day back at work after spending the weekend at the Fitzroy Valley Campdraft and Rodeo. Admittedly, I didn’t actually catch many of the events but I had a cracking time drinking beer around the camp. It was certainly an experience that those back home would find hard to imagine. For starters everyone wore cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and checked shirt which I’ve only ever worn at a fancy dress party! This is every day attire by the way, not just for the rodeo.

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Just checking this little fella’s pistol isn’t real!

On sale at the children’s toy stall were whips and plastic guns, no helium balloons or fluffy teddy bears found here.  Beer’s drunk for breakfast and lunch consists of fries and a thick-shake which took nearly an hour to grab. I like the “too easy” Australian way of life but sometimes there’s such a thing as being too laid back, especially when I am hangry (Hungry and Angry for those have been living under a rock for the past five years!) At least watching the staff cook up burgers slower than slow-motion was a good conversation starter amongst us in the queue. 

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Rodeo clown and our head stockman Trav doing his stuff

 With three days of events, there was plenty of action to catch with the open bull ride being my favourite. I enjoy watching my colleague Trav clowning as much as I do the cowboys riding bulls. For those who arnt familiar with the sport, rodeo clowns are the fellas responsible for protecting the rider and getting the bull out the way and out of the ring when the rider comes off. It’s a dangerous job and one that often holds the most excitement.

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Gymnastics on a horse

I also enjoyed watching the trick rider who practices gymnastics on top of her horse while it gallops around the ring. I took part in the Horse Poo Lotto which is where you buy a square of yard pen for $10 and if the horse does his business in your square of land, you win $300. Unfortunately the horse chose to shit somewhere else. As much as I wouldn’t have minded having a cowboy by my side all evening I didn’t quite have to funds to purchase one in the auction. My friends from the local hospital did and if he had won the bull ride (which unfortunately he didn’t) they would have pocketed half his winnings, a novel way to bet aye?

Fitzroy valley rodeo
The nearest towns

Whilst I was cleaning the toliets (an event like only happens if everyone chips in) I came across a box of rodeo condoms made especially for the event. I thought it was funny that the ladies loo’s had run out while the blokes were fully stocked! Hmm.. 

Heading off for a week of camping at five in the morning was the last thing I wanted to do after a messy two days of drinking beer and eating fried foods at the rodeo. However, work had to be done our at a paddock on the station some 80-odd km away. Not far by Australian standards but far enough for us to camp.

Fitzroy valley rodeo
My cosy swag which I grew to love

I was rather looking forward to the idea of sleeping in a swag under the stars but I was tired and groggy after the weekend and all I wanted to do is to nestle myself in my own bed at the homestead.

Fitzroy valley rodeo camp
Peanut butter and jam croissants around the fire every evening – bliss!

I was cranky and the fact I had to light a fire every time I wanted a cuppa and take cold showers in the depths of winter (it dropped to 14c you know!) certainly didn’t help. The mood amongst the crew had become so negative I just wanted to up and leave but that was a bit tricky when in the middle of nowhere.

Fitzroy valley rodeo
Our camp in the Fitzroy Valley

Most bloggers write about the good times, the funny times or the disastrous times they’ve survived but no one really writes about the low times and this was one of them. Dispite having an incredibly lucky life travelling, we all have the ability to get a bit down in the dumps and unfortuantly I’m having one of these moments. I always believe that for every low day there’s at least two great days so I’m excited to see how the net few months pan out. I will be leaving my life as a Jillaroo and heading South West. Who knows where I will end up? 

Living life, loving the Fitzroy Valley  


1 Comment

  1. […] after several months of very hard work. She’s off to Broome for the weekend for another rodeo. Next Monday there should be a blog post from her on some more recipes. I’ve yet to try her […]

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