10 May 2023

Southern Cape cleans up at Weipa Rodeo

| Sarah Martin
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The quality of the stock may have been too good for most riders, but that didn’t stop the cowboys from having plenty of fun at the Weipa Rodeo on the weekend.

THE Southern Cape was crowned champion after two nights of thrills and spills in the inaugural Cape of Origin event at the Weipa Rodeo.

Captained by PBR cowboy Beau Willis, the Southern Cape featured fellow PBR rider Luke Smith, along with local riders Travis Salam-Koolatah, Raymond Bond and Leith Malone.

The team put together a solid four rides out of five to take the win.

Willis said buckjump rider Bond was the standout, setting the standard for the rest of the cowboys.

“He started us off good and put us on the front foot from the get-go, which took a bit of pressure off the rest of us,” he said.

“We went four from five, only one of our riders fell off.”

Mareeba’s Kurt Shephard, a popular face at the Weipa Rodeo for the past decade and now a PBR bullrider, was captain of the
Northern Cape.

He produced the highest score with 90 points on Off The Chain.

“He was a hard kind of bull to ride, he was turning back and spinning, which usually scores a few more points and I think the judges saw the difficulty it took to ride,” Shephard said.

“I definitely enjoyed myself this year, it was good to be back at Weipa and I’d love to go back again next year.”

In the open bull ride, Glen Simmonds’ bucking bulls proved too good for the cowboys, with no rider managing eight seconds.

Rising stars Salam-Koolatah and Tennyson Paul wowed the crowd in the novice bull and bullock rides before representing their regions in the Cape of Origin.

Salam-Koolatah took first in the novice bull and third in the open bullock, while Paul was second in the novice bull and first in both the open and junior bullock categories.

Weipa Rodeo Association president Russell Scikluna said the event had brought a little bit of the PBR atmosphere to town.

“The grand entry, with the Western Cape school kids doing a traditional dance to kick it off, the music and light show and the arena lit up with a ring of fire – it was just awesome,” he said.

Scikluna said an estimated 6500 people went through the gates across the two nights.

“Having the pro riders up here just built that atmosphere.”

Willis said he and his fellow PBR riders loved being part of the event and the community activities prior to the rodeo.

“We did the school visits and we helped out where we could with the junior competitors and at the back of the chutes,” he said.

“By the end of Saturday I had a lot of friends – once they warmed up and weren’t shy they mobbed us. I’m definitely keen to stay on board and head to Weipa again if the opportunity is there.”

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