The Tumbarumba Rodeo Committee will be holding the inaugural Blaze of Glory Rodeo this Friday afternoon at the Showgrounds.
After the catastrophic conditions experienced on New Years Eve, the committee made the tough decision to cancel the reunion on New Years Eve and the 75th rodeo on New Years Day.
“It was a really hard decision to make,” Rodeo Club secretary Julieann Martin said.
“We had put so much time and effort into the 75th year celebrations and it was very disappointing, but running the Blaze of Glory Rodeo this weekend has given us all something to look forward it.”
The idea to run the Tumbarumba Blaze of Glory Rodeo came from President Tim O’Brien and a few committee members after they bounced the idea around over a few beers once the dangerous fire front had passed.
“We wanted to give the community something to celebrate and to look forward to,” O’Brien said.
“The community has already been through so much during the fires and visitation to the area has really taken a hit. We thought it would be a good idea to team up with the TumbaFest Committee and give the wider community a reason to stay in the region longer. It’s also a great way to raise funds for the local Bush Fire Appeal.”
While the event is affiliated with the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA), events are limited to rough stock events, an open barrel race and a few committee events.
“It’s going to be a short, sharp and exciting rodeo,” Martin said.
Martin is hoping the free entry acts as a major draw card.
“The reunion and rodeo that was to be held over the new year period cost the committee over $17,000 to run, so we’re really hoping that the community gets behind the Blaze of Glory Rodeo,” she said.
“We were so lucky to receive funding through the Drought Resilience Program from the NSW Government, which means we can open up the gates for everyone to attend for free.
“We will have donation buckets at the gate though and merchandise will be available for sale throughout the night.”
Local APRA competitors including Rosewood’s Tim Hammond and Tooma’s Brad Pierce are among those keen to make their mark at Tumbarumba on Friday evening.
Hammond, who will compete in the Open Saddle Bronc Ride is looking forward to competing at Tumba.
“It should be awesome; there is nothing like the support of a home crowd,” Hammond said.
“I’m expecting a massive crowd with an amazing atmosphere. Having Tumbarumba Rodeo’s own bucking horses on show this Friday is also very exciting.”
Hammond said the sense of community spirit has continued to grow since the region was struck by the bushfires.
“The amount of support flowing in from so many individuals and organisations over the past few months, it really make you appreciate the town and people we have around us,” he said.
“The opportunity to tie it in with such a highly respected and recognised event [Tumbafest] will be the making of an outstanding weekend for the Tumbarumba district.”
Brad Pierce will also be competing in the Open Saddle Bronc Ride on Friday evening.
“I am feeling pretty good at the moment so I hope to do good, but you never know; anything can happen with rodeo,” Pierce said.
He said he is excited to have the rodeo go ahead given everything that the community has been through.
“This will not be a full rodeo, but there will be plenty of events,” he said.
“I hope the local people that have worked so hard on these fires can come and relax and enjoy the rodeo we put on for them.”
Gates open on 4pm on Friday.
For more information on the Blaze of Glory Rodeo, visit www.facebook.com/tumbarodeo.