ABOUT 2000 people saddled up for Port Fairy’s first rodeo in two decades on Saturday night, boosting hopes the bulls will become an annual summer drawcard.
Crowds poured through the showground gates for the event in which dozens of riders and bulls faced off in riding, saddle bronc and bareback competitions.
The Port Fairy Football Netball Club secured the rodeo last year as a key summer fund-raiser, hoping to draw in holidaymakers and locals alike.
President Mick Wolfe hailed the event as a success for the club.
“There would have been about 2000 people ... it was a good spectacle,” he said.
“It was something that hadn’t been here for 20 years.”
The president said word around the arena was overwhelmingly positive and promised the event would return in 2014, bigger and better.
Irishman Ian Molan won the open division bull-riding event, while Queenslander Adam Cornish won the second division.
Riders vied for Cold Stone during the draw — the best bucking bull.
The night’s other events included the barrel race, which was claimed by Sarah McLean.
Les Stacey secured the saddle bronc, while the glory of the open bareback title went to Lee Bowker.
“It just adds to Port Fairy. It’s another good attraction,” Mr Wolfe said.
He said the event would become another drawcard on the summer calendar, while giving community groups a fund-raising opportunity. I’m confident it will become an annual thing,” he said.
Woodall Rodeo Promotions organiser Tony Woodall said the night ranked well among other rodeos being held across the district.
“There was a big crowd — everyone was pretty happy,” he said.