Warrnambool is set to host its first rodeo in 25 years thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Warrnambool City Council.
The event, which a handful of ratepayers have called "barbaric", received one of 12 council grants designed to stimulate the city's off-peak events calendar.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said she "totally supported" the event, which is scheduled for December 4.
"It's great to have something to look forward to," she said.
Secretary of the Warrnambool Showgrounds Reserve Jenni Strain is organising the event, a process she described as "an eye opener."
"There hasn't been a rodeo in Warrnambool since 1995 or '96, when it was held at the Harness Racing Club down at Thunder Point," she said. "Getting an event like this off the ground is really difficult, but it is my first rodeo."
The event is also expensive. Organising the arena and animals alone has cost $27,500. She said the $10,000 council grant would help run advertising right up the east coast.
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The show will feature bucking broncs, barrel races, a mechanical bull, junior rodeo events and live music, but bull riding is the main drawcard. Ms Strain said Indigenous cowboy Kaleb "Bull" Collomotti would be the rodeo's "poster boy", a Queenslander who settled in the south-west several years ago and had been the driving force behind the event.
Ms Strain said she hoped to get at least 3000 people through the gates and she hoped to make it an annual affair. She said there had already been strong community interest and only a handful of critics "at this stage".
"There are a few who say it's a barbaric sport, but I don't think they have all the facts," she said.
Local animal rights activist Alexis Creed-Sycopoulis said rodeos were "hardly family entertainment", arguing the animals "suffer injuries" and are "physically provoked into displaying wild behaviour".
Ron Woodall, who is supplying the animals for the rodeo, said there was no basis to such criticisms, saying many activists "don't know a bull from a cow".
The veteran breeder is Australia's top supplier of rodeo stock and said he had to follow a strict code of practice.
"The vets come in and check all the animals before the event and then again after, to check none of them are lame," he said. A vet is also present at all times during the rodeo itself.
"There are more injuries in the paddock," Mr Woodall said.
Warrnambool City Council events manager Lauren Edney said the issue of animal welfare "didn't come up" when the grant panel assessed the rodeo grant application.
"It wasn't part of the selection criteria."
The possibility some ratepayers might object to their money funding a rodeo wasn't considered.
Ms Edney said the main factor was whether the event would bring economic benefit to the community.
"It will be great for the city," she said.
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