FOR more than half-a-century the Bungendore Rodeo has been testing the guts, bravado and horsemanship of riders from the local region and interstate.
And for more than half-a-century, long-time volunteer Graeme Taylor has been quietly going about his business behind the scenes helping ensure it all goes to script.
“I was only a kid when the rodeo first started but my parents were involved, my uncles were involved and it was just the sort of thing the whole family got involved in back in those days,” Taylor said of his early years with the rodeo.
“I’ve had horses all my life and I suppose it just goes with the territory. When your family’s been involved in something you like to try and carry on the tradition.”
At 66, Taylor is no longer much involved in the organising side of things when it comes to the annual Bungendore tradition. Instead, he lends his time and skills to construction and ground maintenance so that everything is in place when the chutes open.
“I just turn up a fortnight beforehand and have a look around at what’s broken and what needs to be fixed up,” he said. “There’s always something that needs fixing.
“It’s not like what it used to be though when we had to construct the arena each year and then have to mow it all with push mowers.”
And it’s not just the equipment and set up that’s changed over the decades according to Taylor who has witnessed three generations of riders ply their trade on the rodeo circuit.
“Back in the early days blokes would jump on a horse for the fun of it and for a bit of a day out,” Taylor remembers.
“These days you can’t just rock up and pay your nomination, it’s all a bit more organised and more professional. If you’re not real good and one of the top competitors, there’s not much point in getting in there.”