TICKETS for tonight's Port Fairy's rodeo are still available.
The rodeo, which will be staged at the town's showgrounds, is a fund raiser for the Port Fairy Football Netball Club. Gates open at 4pm for a 6pm start.
The rodeo - the first in the town in 20 years - is being held as animal welfare groups target south-west communities in a campaign calling for a boycott of the events.
The RSPCA yesterday used advertisements urging residents to boycott the events.
RSPCA Victorian president Dr Hugh Wirth said Victoria was likely to lead the way with a blanket ban on the sport.
“The animals are not built for that sort of activity, they are forced to do it,” Dr Wirth said.
Victoria is the only state where rodeos are subject to statutory regulations.
Calf roping and mutton busting have been banned.
The RSPCA has taken its case to state Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh.
Most south-west rodeos are organised by Woodall Rodeo promotions, which is based in Winnap, near Dartmoor.
Promoter Tony Woodall rejected the RSCPA’s claims.
“There’s no cruelty to our animals — they are treated better than racing horses,” he said.
“I can’t remember any major injuries that we’ve had.
“There’s definitely no stress on the animals, they like what they’re doing.”
He said veterinarians attended all Victorian rodeos.
Just over 200 people live in Dartmoor on the Princes Highway, which was hard hit when the Carter Holt Harvey timber mill closed in 2008.
Since then the Dartmoor rodeo has kept many of the town’s community groups alive and has become the biggest event on the calendar.
Wendy Dowling from the Dartmoor Progress Association said at least 2500 people would attend next month’s event.
“You couldn’t see better conditions,” Ms Dowling said.
“It keeps our football club afloat. It’s purely run to support the club.”
“I don’t think they would survive without it.”