By HARRY CLARKE
A WEEKEND of rodeo action on the Western Downs has brought champion rider Courtney Banks a step closer to defending her Division 1 title in the Queensland Barrel Racing Association (QBRA) circuit.
Close to 3,000 spectators came through the gates and 400 more watched online as the Chinchilla Show Golden Times Rodeo returned with thousands of dollars in prize money up for grabs.
The rodeo was held alongside one of the QBRA’s jackpot events, where Banks (pictured above) clocked one of the fastest times of the weekend with a blistering 16.7 seconds in the barrel racing arena.
It wasn’t enough to win the event but Banks, from Oakey, treated her runs mainly as an opportunity to exercise her trusty gelding, “Topsey” by champion sire Acres Destiny, ahead of this year’s QBRA season.
“I’m justing getting my horse fit for rodeo this year and jackpot events are good for doing that, to get them going,” Banks said.
“He’s very versatile but he’s not quite fit yet, so he should hopefully get better during the year. I’m very happy with him. He’s getting up there, but I’ve got to keep going with him.”
SLIDESHOW: Images by Liz Speed Photography. Visit Liz’s website and Facebook page.
The Chinchilla Gold Times Rodeo is usually held as part of the Chinchilla Melon Festival, which was due happen this month but was called off due to uncertainly during the organising period.
There was full gamut of rodeo events on Friday night with dozens of competitors nominating in open and novice barrel racing, bronc riding and bull riding events.
Event director Brent Cann said with such a huge number of spectators turning out, it was pleasing to put some quality rodeo action on display ahead of a second event to be held in May during the Chinchilla Show.
“Chinchilla is usually very good. There’s a lot of rodeo supporters around the area and plenty of people from out of town. It’s good to bring people out to the country to enjoy community events in little towns,” Cann said.
“We added a few things this year. We had the big screen up on display and live streaming of the event online and there were people watching from all around Australia, New Zealand and even the USA.
“We combine with the Chinchilla Show Society but there’s only about three or four of us organising the rodeo and competition side of things, and we’re really happy with out it went.”