11 February 2020

Broncs and bulls in a blaze of glory at Tumbarumba

| Edwina Mason
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Blaze of Glory Rodeo

All funds raised at the February 21 Blaze of Glory Rodeo in Tumbarumba will go back into the fire-affected community. Photo: Supplied.

Dust off those boots, chuck on a 10-gallon hat, the flanny, a bit of bling and scoot over to Tumbarumba for one heck of a bronc ‘n bull riding time at the Blaze of Glory Rodeo on February 21.

It’s a case of be there or be square because this one-of-a-kind event has been organised in conjunction with Tumbafest to help inject money back into one mountain town where time stopped over the Christmas period.

Tumbarumba Rodeo committee president Tim O’Brien said New Year’s Day 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the Tumbarumba Rodeo – the oldest rodeo in NSW – but bushfires bearing down on the town forced a cancellation that resulted in significant losses, not just for the event organisers but the town.

Mr O’Brien, who was mid-muster when About Regional caught up with him, was one of the hundreds of people who helped fend off the fires over an 18-day period – fires that stopped four kilometres short of his property.

“We were very lucky,” he said, amid whistles and the bellowing of cows. “It just came down to wind direction and it just missed us but burnt right to the edge of my parents’ house in town.”

“The whole town was evacuated. It’s the busiest time of the year up here – we lost visitors, the blueberry pickers, small businesses had no business. I know one publican lost around $100,000.”

The rodeo committee is reeling from their own $17,000 loss. The annual event normally attracts 3000 spectators but Mr O’Brien said the 75th annual rodeo was shaping up to be the biggest in years.

“It’s a shame because we’d been planning it for, oh, I’d say 12 months. We had a reunion organised, we’d collected all this memorabilia, had old videos, slideshows set up and the morning of New Year’s Eve we just had to cancel, pull everything down and get out of town,” he said.

Planning is now underway to celebrate the 75th year in 2021 but the committee decided the two-day Tumbafest, already set down for February 22 and 23, was the perfect opportunity to run another rodeo, this time to raise vital funds for the community.

“The whole town was dead for about three weeks so we need to get some money back into it,” Mr O’Brien said.

The full Australian Pro Rodeo Association (APRA) Championship Blaze of Glory Rodeo will play out under the shade of the elm trees at Tumbarumba Showgrounds.

The program will feature bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback riding, barrel races and trick riders plus a local twist with poddy rides, bucking ponies and the junior steer ride challenge. There’s also a fabulous array of food and merchandise stalls for the big spenders.

“Everybody is welcome, stay for the weekend, it’ll be a good weekend for all with Tumbafest,” Mr O’Brien said, adding, “It’ll be a little like chalk and cheese or more like rum and dust and cheese and wine.”

All funds raised from the Blaze of Glory Rodeo will go to the Tumbarumba Bush Fire Appeal. The action starts at 4 pm through until 9 pm.
Adults: $15
Children/Concession: $10
Family: $40 (2 adults & 2 children)
Tickets can be purchased at the gate.
Further details on Facebook under Tumbarumba Blaze of Glory Rodeo or call 0408 709 743.

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