Kids, cattle and dust flew as lifelong loves of rodeo were solidified during a school holiday workshop Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Youth Reconnect team held in Borroloola last week.
As part of its youth engagement strategy in the isolated town, 660 kilometres southeast of Katherine, the Council partnered with Territory Rodeo Services (TRS) to deliver the Great Borroloola Cattle Workshop, which comprised three two-day sessions for participants up to the age of 24.
With more than 60 youth learning about cattle handling and riding techniques, the workshop became a whole-of-community event as family members took up positions around the arena to throw their support behind participants.
The workshop included a range of lessons and games designed to entertain participants as they learnt the skills needed to compete at rodeos and ultimately seek employment in the Northern Territory cattle industry.
The variety of fun activities was appreciated by some of the younger participants, many of whom have family members who are well-known names on the NT rodeo circuit.
“It was a lot of fun,” 12-year-old Sonny Dixon said.
“We were riding calves and horses, and learning how to balance when riding.”
Borroloola Youth Services Coordinator Ilan Bermeister explained that the inclusive nature of the workshop allowed participants to learn in an environment they felt completely comfortable in.
“The kids have come out in great numbers, even supporting the other age groups when they were participating,” he said.
“The atmosphere has been vibrant, colourful and enthusiastic, and the youth were respectful and showed great aptitude and attitude.
“I am amazed at how brave these kids are to participate in the sport of rodeo, and the young boys and girls of Borroloola have again proved that the future of this town is a bright one.”
TRS owner Tara Craigie praised participants and said the Borroloola region had a proud tradition of producing top-level stockmen and rodeo riders.
“We are honoured for the opportunity to work with the younger generation to inspire them to follow in the footsteps of the men and women before them,” she said.
Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen said the workshop was further evidence of what could be achieved in remote towns like Borroloola when stakeholders collaborated to deliver programs and services that boosted the liveability of the Roper Gulf region.
“Council is committed to supporting remote training and employment opportunities, and the sustainability of towns in its Local Government Area as part of its strategic objectives,” she explained.
“For these goals to be achieved, all stakeholders need to be working together harmoniously towards a common vision that benefits the people who call our communities home.
“This event is an example of that collaboration, and Council is proud to have led a diverse group of stakeholders from Borroloola and further afield to make it an overwhelming success that was embraced by the youth who participated in it.”
The event was sponsored by the Northern Territory Government as part of its Alcohol Action Initiatives.
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