Thousands turn out for Yarra Valley Pro Rodeo

L-R: Alfie, Jack and Freddie. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

The Yarra Valley Pro Rodeo was back once again on Saturday 20 January at the Yarra Glen Racecourse.

Event Organiser Jody Wilson said it was one of the best events they have ever done.

“We’re improving all the time on people’s feedback,” she said.

“We upgraded the grandstand seating, staffing for the bars with more food vendors and traffic management.”

The rodeo this year aimed to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) to commemorate Ms Wilson’s mum ‘Patty’ and one of the local boys ‘Ryan Donald’.

Ms Wilson said it was lovely that they were able to raise awareness of those two on a large scale.

“My mum passed away last year from ovarian cancer. We’ve been running the rodeo for about seven years and she’s always helped me along the way mentally and physically,” she said.

“Ryan Donald passed away a number of years ago, he was only 17 when he literally passed away in his sleep and his family has been involved in the rodeo for many years.

“So we wanted to raise awareness of ovarian cancer for my mum and SADS for Ryan Donald.”

A stock contractor John Gill said he was blown away by the event.

“In my many years in the industry, I’ve never seen a more respectable crowd of happy families and patrons all enjoying the show, food and carnival area,” he said.

Woori Yallock resident Jack came with his two kids, Alfie and Freddie, on the day.

Jack said the Yarra Valley Pro Rodeo is the best event on the calendar for the Yarra Valley.

“We came here last year and it was a magnificent and fun family event,” he said.

“My kids loved it and they haven’t stopped talking about it since last year.

“It’s been great and they’ve kept their hats.”

Six-year-old boy Hugh was at the event with his family and he tried the mechanical bull.

His mum Sian said his son Hugh was the one who brought the family out to the rodeo.

“He’s into bucking of the horse and watching the horse on Youtube,” she said.

“It’s our first experience and I think it’ll be good and the kids will enjoy it.”

Jody and Tim Wilson, the Lowe family, the O’Donnell family and the DelBiondo family are the committee members that organise the Yarra Valley Pro Rodeo every year.

The Yarra Valley Pro Rodeo supports the whole Yarra Valley community with accommodations, food, outlets, and alcohol outlets and it will be back again next year.