WHEN organising the Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama there are a lot of people under a lot of pressure, but probably none more this year than Joe O’Brien.
Woolorama will be held this Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9.
Mr O'Brien has stepped into a role that gained his predecessor a State award for excellence and knows he has big boots to fill.
He has taken over the role of Woolorama’s Unigrain rodeo co-ordinator previously held by Wagin identity Arthur Pederick.
For the past nine years Mr Pederick had been the liaison with the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association Ltd (ABCRA) that runs a State-wide circuit of 20 events stretching from Warmun in the north to Munglinup in the south.
For the past five years the ABCRA WA zone has acknowledged well-organised rodeos on the circuit with a committee of the year award.
Previous winners in order of receival have been Mullewa, Boddington, Onslow and Newman.
Mr O’Brien said he felt under pressure to live up to Mr Pederick’s work, especially as he has only lived in Wagin for a few years.
Like many new arrivals he and his wife Ann did not take long to immerse themselves in Woolorama.
The former Geraldton man visited Wagin three years ago to show poultry and made some life-changing decisions in the same weekend
He bought a small property and moved from Geraldton.
They continue to show poultry and collected a swag of ribbons at the 2018 IGA Perth Royal Show but it is another side of his past that will go a long way to ensuring there is a seamless change in organisation.
Mr O’Brien is a former rodeo rider who followed the southern part of the circuit for four years riding and wrestling steers and taking on bareback and saddle broncs for the eight seconds of adrenalin rush.
He said he was a bit of a natural horse rider and took only a handful of tumbles and no serious injuries.
The gap between then and now was filled by a career as a truck driver.
The new challenge has rekindled some old memories and he is looking forward to catching up with some his former rodeo mates.
The rodeo is in its tenth year and takes place on Saturday night from 5pm, as the grand finale to Woolorama, finishing with live music by Chain Reaction, food vans and a bar.
The usual rule still applies for entry – if you buy your wristband before 4pm on Saturday from the Woolorama information tent it is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 16.
If you buy your wristband at the gate it is $20 for adults.
No wristband means no entry.
Last year 3500 people stayed on to see the 19-event program that culminates in spectacular and richly rewarded saddle and bareback broncs prizes worth $900 to each of the winners.
The bull wrestling, team roping and ladies barrel race all carry $1000 first place prize monies.
There is team roping, rope and tie, breakaway roping and steer undecorating events that also carry $900 for the winners.