Cowboys and girls won’t be saddling up for the Richmond Rodeo next year after the club announced this week that the popular annual event at the A & P Showground is being canned.
President of the Richmond Rodeo Club, Ian Parkes announced on Tuesday that the rodeo is “going into recess” after running for over 50 years. Although the rodeo had been under pressure from animal rights group SAFE as well as battling financially over the last few years, Ian says that had nothing to do with their decision.
“The club’s going into recess because there is a lack of enthusiasm for running the rodeo,” Ian says. “I’ve been doing it for five or six years and (club secretary) Tina Angus and (treasurer) Sharon Nisbett have doing it for a bit longer.
“We want to get out but there’s no one put their hand up to take over. The club has got some new members but no one wants to take on any leadership.”
Ian says the club’s financial position is sound after the rodeo made small profit last year. It is also unconcerned about criticism from SAFE, which he says is “misguided”, and had no influence on his decision to step back from the rodeo.
“SAFE are a pretty small minority and they don’t appreciate that we are all farmers and understand and respect animals,” Ian says. “If I treated animals badly, I wouldn’t be in business.”
The rodeo attracted a crowd of between 2000-2500 each year and Ian says “I’m sure there will be people who are disappointed”. Richmond Rodeo Club is donating it’s facilities to the A & P Association to be used by “anyone who comes along and wants to run a rodeo”.
The SAFE Facebook page has a post saying ‘Fantastic news! Richmond rodeo won’t be going ahead this season.’