St Mary’s and St Philips Combined Churches Bungendore Rodeo
Where: Bungendore Rodeo Equestrian Sports and Recreation Reserve
When: Sunday, from 8.30am. Main program from 11am.
Cost: Adults $20, Seniors $15, Juniors $10 and under-12s Free
WHEN locally-born saddle bronc rider James Darmody takes to the arena in this Sunday’s Bungendore Rodeo, it’s no exageration to suggest the prize he’s competing for already has his name on it.
After falling just short last year, the 30-year-old has set his sights on taking out the James Darmody Memorial Buckle.
The award, presented to the winner of the saddle bronc competition each year, is named in honour of James’ grandfather of the same name who was instrumental in setting up the Bungendore Rodeo more than half-a-century ago.
“The Bungendore Rodeo started out at my grandfather’s place and after it moved to the rodeo ground, my dad took over the running of it so there’s a lot of family history there,” James said.
“I’ve been trying my hardest to win my grandfather’s buckle for the last couple of years and I’ve come close but not close enough unfortunately. I love competing at Bungendore though, it’s my local rodeo and I’m always going to keep trying to win it.”
The Darmody family’s association with the Bungendore Rodeo spans three generations and more than 50 years through the elder James, his son and current president Greg and his son James.
The younger James however, is the first of his line to compete seriously in the sport which has taken him around Australia and overseas.
As a 22-year-old, Darmody travelled to Canada, spending the next three seasons riding in the country’s professional rodeo circuit.
“Over there [Canada] you can ride pretty much every day…and there’s quite a lot of money involved in it so I was able to turn it into a full-time job for a while,” James said.
“Since I’ve come back it’s become more of a hobby. I still love doing it but it’s a lot more of a demand on your pocket here for not as big a reward so it’s harder to keep up with it. I always make sure I come back home to Bungendore each year though.”
This year’s Bungendore Rodeo will be held at the Bungendore Rodeo Equestrian Sports and Recreation Reserve, located 5km from Bungendore Village on the King’s Highway.
Competition will kick off from 8.30am, Sunday morning with the main event to get underway from 11am. Money raised will go toward the local Catholic and Anglican Churches.
Last year’s Bungendore Rodeo raised more than $24,000 for the two churches.