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Gulf and Peninsula News

Rodeo family ready for NQ zone finals

FAMILY: Joel and Shandell Hilditch with son Weston are looking forward to the NQ Zone Rodeo Finals at Eureka Creek.

FOR the first time in rodeo history, Eureka Creek will host the ABCRA NQ Zone Rodeo Finals on Saturday, September 28.

Competing on the day will be the best of the best from North Queensland and for one local family they can’t wait to compete in their own backyard. With the NQ Zone Rodeo Finals being held at Eureka Creek Station, the Hilditch family from Dimbulah are only a stone’s throw away from the venue, much to the pleasure of competitor Joel Hilditch.

“We get to sleep in our own beds for a change,” he said.

“It’s a pretty good feeling to be chosen in the top 10 in North Queensland.

“And with Weston (our son) being so young and competing against older riders and still winning, he’s punching above his weight.”

His wife, Shandell echoed his comments.

“Normally we’re driving five or so hours to a rodeo, so it’s a good change,” she said.

“We were pretty much cheering when it was announced that it was going to be close to home.

“The traveling gets exhausting so you know, it’s nice for us to be a little bit spoiled.”

Joel and four year old son Weston have been confirmed to be competing in the zone finals as the invitations were sent out last Thursday.

Mrs Hilditch is in contention but is still waiting for confirmation, although she doesn’t mind assisting outside of the arena.

“I’ve been out singing on the weekends so I’ve missed a lot of the Rodeos to help me qualify,” she said.

“There’s still a chance there, but I don’t mind being the strapper for the weekend.

“I’m normally there with Weston and helping out in the arena anyway.”

Mrs Hilditch competes in the Ladies Breakaway while Joel will be competing in Steer wrestling and Team Roping. Weston however has been selected for all four events; Steer Riding, Dummy Roping, Barrel Racing and the Bending Race.

The Hilditch family has a home field advantage at this year’s NQ Zone Rodeo Finals with a large local crowd expected to gather to see the best of the best in Rodeo.

The NQ Zone Rodeo Finals are being hosted by Nugget of the North and Vice President Dan Miller is excited for Eureka Creek to be chosen to host the finals.

“I’d like to thank the ABCRA NQ Zone for the opportunity to host the finals,” he said.

“Hosting the finals can be financially straining, but we were in a position to put our hand up to volunteer to host.

“Especially since this is the first Zone final held up here (Tablelands).”

Mr Miller also stressed that the organisation (Nugget of the North) is a non-for profit organisation and actively gives back to the community as they have donated over $45,000 to local communities and charities.

Those competing in the Rodeo finals are competitors who have travelled throughout the year, earning points from their events in the NQ Zone which extends all the way to Rockhampton.

The competitors are judged and their scores added up, with the top 10 competitors in each rodeo event chosen to participate in the Zone finals. The finals are invitation only and some of the best of the best in Australia are invited to compete.

The event includes open and junior events.

“Every competitor in the Rodeo gets two chances at their event,” Mr Miller said,

“It gives both the spectators and competitors a good event and a chance to improve off their first run.

“They all battle it out for the end of year buckle; it’s sort of the end goal from all the rodeos.”

Unlike other rodeos, the Zone Finals give competitors the opportunity to earn more points with an additional second round and average of the two rounds to secure the championship buckle.

Mr Miller is looking forward to the event and says preparations are “pretty much finalised”.

“We’re all looking forward to the rodeo, it’s an exciting thing,” he said.

“All the preparations are being finalised and the invitations are starting to go out.

“Competitors don’t even know if they’ve been chosen until the invitations arrive.”

Mr Miller says the Rodeo is not something to miss with the best of the best being chosen to compete so close to home.

“We have people from all over Queensland and some from New South Wales coming up,” he said.

“It’s an ideal competition to watch for Rodeo goers.

“It’s all the action without so much waiting.”

The Rodeo is set to be one of fast paced, adrenaline pumping action for spectators and competitors alike. Mr Miller is hoping to see good crowds and is planning to keep them up to date on scores live.

“A lot of the rodeos we see, people know what’s going on but they don’t know who is where on the scores,” he said.

“So I’m hoping to keep the crowd involved and updated through live commentary.

“It gives spectators something to cheer for.”

With the rodeo being full of top notch competitors doing multiple runs, you could assume the rodeo will be drawn out with lots of downtime but Mr Miller assures that this won’t be the case.

“There’s not a lot of downtime as there’s always something going on,” he said.

“It’s very fast paced so spectators and competitors aren’t waiting around.

“People get more bang for their buck.”

The ABCRA NQ Zone Rodeo Finals will be held on September 28 from 9am at the same location as Eureka Creek Campdraft, Rodeo and Races (Eureka Creek Station).

In addition to the Rodeo events the day will also feature the popular Borghero Mini Buckers in the arena, plus live music till late with Moefos Band.

For more information visit the Nugget of the North Facebook page or phone Dan Miller on 0409 626 911 for more information.

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