Arriving in Kenilworth, a cute mountain town, we donned our hats (me my Panama, Paul his kangaroo cowboy) and off we went. We fitted right in: everyone was in cowboy boots, jeans with big buckles on their belts, check shirts and Stetsons. Great to see!
It turns out that 2019 is the centenary of the Kenilworth Rodeo and so the locals were out in their masses but it wasn't overcrowded at all. First stop was the woodchopping competition where men with big axes (and bellies to match) were competing in various challenges, all basically trying to chop through a log as quickly as possible. There's a time handicap and, amazingly, the chap with the 25 second handicap often won his class within 20 seconds of starting chopping.
After watching for a while we continued on to the rodeo arena just in time to see teenage cowboys bareback riding bucking bulls. A belt is tied around the bull's hind quarters and this seems to be what makes them buck, presumably trying to kick off the belt ... as well as the rider! Ten seconds was a good time to achieve. Most ended up in the dust within two or three!
Next up was steer lassoing, sometimes individually and sometimes in pairs. The horses and riders definitely work as one, perfectly in time. I did feel a bit sorry for the poor steers, especially when the steer lasso and wrestle to the ground competition started. But they all survived to live another day.
We strolled into the town centre for lunch and had a really nice meal at Nanna McGinns. Kenilworth is also famous for its 1kg doughnut challenge at the town bakery ... we decided to resist the temptation!
Back at the show we admired the classic car parade, recreating what happened at the inaugural show. It was interesting to see the different styles, far more open to the elements given the consistently sunny weather!
Returning to the rodeo arena we watched more of the competitions before heading back to the car in the late afternoon for the scenic drive back to the marina.