10 May 2023

Rodeo royalty hits Weipa for Cape of Origin series

| Sarah Martin
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Mount Isa champion Donovan Rutherfurd will be in Weipa this weekend.

THERE will be a cool $10,000 up for grabs to the best team in an exciting new event at the Weipa Rodeo.

The Cape of Origin will feature the best riders from each part of the region – northern central and southern Cape – who will buck it out for the top spot and the team prize, plus a shiny buckle.

The top scorers in the open bull ride, novice bull ride and bushman’s buckjump will be invited to represent their area of origin with all riders contributing to their total Cape of Origin team score.

Cowboys from Thursday Island, Bamaga, New Mapoon, Mapoon, Weipa, Napranum, Lockhart River and Aurukun will represent the northern Cape.

The central Cape will have cowboys from Coen, Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama, Hope Vale, Laura, Cooktown, Lakeland, Mount Molloy, Port Douglas and Mossman.

Blokes from Normanton, Croydon, Georgetown, Mareeba, Atherton, Cairns, Innisfail, Tully and Townsville will represent the southern Cape.

A PBR circuit cowboy will captain each team.

Professional riders Kurt Shephard, Beau Willis, Braydon Wellby, Luke Smith, Wyatt Milgate and reigning Australian champion Donovan Rutherfurd are scheduled to take part, most of them coming straight from the Mount Isa Rodeo.

The PBR riders will be allocated their Origin teams via a random draw in the rodeo arena.

Cape York Weekly caught up with Willis while in between rides at the Isa, and he said he couldn’t wait for Weipa.

“I’ve never ridden at Weipa; this will be my first time. I’ve ridden all around the world, but I can’t wait for the Weipa Rodeo,”
he said.”

Willis has been on the PBR circuit since he was 18, travelling across the US, Canada and Mexico for the past five years.

He said he was looking forward to riding and sharing his knowledge with his Cape of Origin teammates this Friday and Saturday, and meeting the community on Thursday night at the meet and greet at Andoom Oval.

Bull riding legend Troy Dunn, who is the only Aussie to be crowned PBR World Champion, will be in Weipa and the Cape for the week leading up to the rodeo.

He said the Cape of Origin event was an exciting concept, and the PBR riders taking part were great role models for the up-and-coming riders.

“I think it’s great to do something like that and get the communities involved and get the PBR boys into leadership roles in a team atmosphere,” he said.

“Those bull riders, we don’t just teach them how to ride, a lot of it has to do with building character.”

Dunn said the professional riders involved in the event would be manning each of the three chutes, passing on tips and feedback to riders, and offering support.

“I know Beau Willis well, he’s just up the road from me in Bowen, and Kurt Shephard and the other PBR boys; they are great riders,” he said.

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