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24 February, 2016

GARRY MCPHEE

It was a young Garry McPhee that moved to Australia in 1965 from New Zealand. One of sixteen children, yes that’s right – 8 boys and 8 girls! – He joined the Australian Rough Riders Association, later to be known as the Australian Professional Rodeo Association -  and started what would become a lifelong passion for Quarter Horses, the western equine industry and of course, rodeo. Fast forward to 1971 and it was a big year for Garry, not only did he win his first Australian Championship, he won three! – Garry also married Cheryl McTaggart. Garry & Cheryl travelled the nation and both winning their respective “All-round” Cowboy/cowgirl titles 4 years in a row. Garry showed extreme versatility, mastering both ends of the arena winning the 1971 Bull Riding Champion, Steer Wrestling and coveted Australian All-Round Champion, right alongside his wife. They would team up to breed, train and compete on some of Australian Rodeo’s foundation Quarter Horses. They were both winning titles and travelling the rugged Australian outback competing at rodeo’s all over Australia. But the winning didn’t stop there, besides becoming a father for the first time in 1974, Garry went on to win four All-Round Championships and another 13 national titles before starting his own rodeo company in 1976. In his first year, the riders recognised his bucking stock quickly and awarded his horse Silver the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year at the ’76 National Finals Rodeo.

Accepting the award for Bucking Stock of the Year would become second nature for the Garry McPhee Rodeo Company. Winning some 69 Bucking Stock of the Year awards spanning over the next 40 years. Names like Kings Cross, Red Ned, Cream Puff & Sweet Pea were just a few that dominated the 1970’s. But it was the beginning of a new decade, it was 1980 and the momentum had only just started. The champion bucking horse Kings Cross started off strong alongside old mates, Cream Puff, Red Ned, Bonanza and who could forget the midnight-black bull, aptly named Molasses.

1985 saw a new generation of stock eager to take stage. A grey gelding named Toss-Up made a bold entry to the rodeo circuit and went on to win 10 Bareback Horse of the Year titles, right beside his mate, Saddle Bronc - Which Way. A new bull was also on the prowl, one that would capture the hearts of thousands of fans, television broadcasters, brewing companies and many more giants in the Australian Corporate world. As the sport of rodeo quickly escalated in fame and notoriety thanks to a bull named Chainsaw. The winning trio of Toss-Up, Which Way & Chainsaw would dominate The Bucking Stock of the Year awards – year on year up until 1994 when Toss Up won his last title. Chainsaw retired in 1995 and while they all dominantly left their mark in the history books, a new breed of stock were coming up the ranks. Names like Each Way, Crime Time Longyard & Aussie would carry the team through to the late 90’s when a grey mare named Jane would make her presence felt in rodeo’s elite crowd surrounded by QT, Rodeo Queen, & Mandy. Cheyenne Top Girl, Cheyenne Brave & Mandy’s Boy continue the winning streak,

as recent as 2015 – Cheyenne Girl won the Saddle Bronc horse of the year. Some might say a lot of luck? – others who know better know this wasn’t by chance, it was the strategic breeding program that Garry put in place in the 1970’s that allowed him to continue winning so many of these awards year after year, decade after decade. and now 40 years on and 69 bucking stock of the year titles hang on the wall at the McPhee Rodeo Co headquarters in Lurg, Victoria.

Clearly this was from good management and hard work. Truly an outstanding achievement in anyone’s language.

Garry continued to compete whilst contracting rodeo’s and went on to win a further 4 national titles, taking his career total to 17! – still competing today, and at 68 he recently placed 2nd in the team roping at the 2015 National Finals Rodeo, an event he will continue to enjoy for many years to come.

Garry, his wife Anna and daughter Dusty continue the family tradition. Anna a champion competitor in her own right and Dusty, now 18 are always looking for ways to hone their skills for the next rodeo down the road. Dusty is well placed to continue strongly in her Dad’s footsteps – the love of horses runs deep in the McPhee family and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

 



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Australian Professional Rodeo Association
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