ALTHOUGH she basically grew up in a saddle, Weipa’s Brooke Quartermaine is the first to admit she’s not much of a barrel racer. However, that’s not stopping her from competing at this weekend’s Weipa Rodeo.
Barrel racing is a new addition to the 18th annual rodeo, and Brooke said she was thrilled to have a more inclusive event.
“Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a barrel racer by any means, being able to compete so close to home, I’m going to go for it,” the campdraft regular said.
“In the past if I wanted to compete at Weipa I had to jump on a steer, so to have something more for the girls is just great.
“The rodeo is interactive for everyone, there’s the barrels now, whip cracking for kids who don’t want to jump on something; there really is something for everyone.”
A former secretary of the Weipa Rodeo committee, Brooke said she took her hat off to the current committee for the standard of the event, which brings thousands through the gates.
“It’s awesome, it’s just so professionally run and one of the best rodeos around,” the owner of Weipa Camp Ground said.
“Our rooms are all booked and camping is nearly booked; there’s a real buzz and people are very excited about it.
“It’s not just Cape York people either, we have travellers from Melbourne who are changing their schedules so they can see the rodeo.”
It’s a family affair for Brooke, who grew up on Watson River Station and has attended almost every rodeo for the past 17 years.
“My kids are going to compete; my son (Cody) is in the poddy ride, junior barrels and whipcracking, and my daughter (Kayla) is in the barrels as well,” she said.
“For us our next closest event is Laura, so for us to be able to do something where the travel isn’t a seven-hour drive is nice.”
Brooke is also secretary of the Weipa Horseowners Club and said there were several club members signed up to compete now that barrels had been included on the rodeo program.
“That’s really cool for a town that’s considered a mining town, that we have such a huge interest in horsesports,” she said.
Although she was realistic about her chances of taking out top honours in the barrel race, Brooke said “you never know”.
“I’m more of a cow chaser, but at the end of the day you never know when you’re going to have your Bradbury moment and everyone else knocks over the barrels and you end up winning!”
In addition to the much-anticipated barrel races, there is a full complement of bull riding events, steer wrestling, the popular Cape of Origin competition, saddle bronc and bushman’s buckjump, bar, stalls and food and live entertainment by Danny Phegan.