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23 April, 2013

AUSTRALIAN RODEO FEDERATION

THE sport of rodeo is set for a new beginning following the formation of the Australian Rodeo Federation.

Rodeo is not currently recognised by the Federal Government and Australian Sports Commission as the action is split between a number of organisations but the office bearers of the federation plan to change that.

National Rodeo Association president Bill Urquhart and Australian Professional Rodeo Association rodeo administrator Steve Hilton said one of the main reasons for the formation of the Australian Rodeo Federation was to ensure animal welfare was paramount across all associations.

The federation has been formed by representatives of the Natonal Rodeo Association (NRA), Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA), Australian Bushman’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) and Central Rodeo Cowboys Association (CRCA).

The Queensland Rodeo Association, Professional Bull Riders Australia and Rodeo Services Association have agreed in principle to join the federation.

Mr Urquhart said these organisations have 4500 members and run 450 rodeos annually.

“The federation will be able to speak strongly to Government as it will represent more than 90 per cent of the competitors in Australia,” he said.

Mr Hilton said the establishment of the federation would help safeguard the sport.

“Ensuring the best animal welfare practices are followed throughout Australia will be one of the major roles of the new federation,” Hilton said.

“We are delighted RSPCA representatives from Queensland, New South Wales and the national body and a representative of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, attended a meeting in Warwick at the time the federation was formed.”

RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend said his organisation would rather deal with the Australian Rodeo Federation than a lot of different groups.

“We want to make sure all participants stick to the Code of Practice which is pretty good and we end up with better livestock welfare on the ground,” Townend said.

“The recent meeting in Warwick was very positive, the RSPCA appreciates the opportunity to talk with the federation.

“We are keen to work with them. They understand the RSPCA policy still doesn’t agree with the running of rodeos.

“The RSPCA supports the initiative of industry in the development of the Australian Rodeo Federation and their campaign for a nationally recognised Animal Welfare Code of Practice.”

Hilton said sub-committees would be formed within the federation to look at different issues.

“One of the sub-committee will be on animal welfare,” he said.

“The APRA has always appreciated the work of the RSPCA and what they stood for but had some concerns they were leaning towards being an animal rights group. I am pleased Mark Townend reaffirmed at the meeting that the RSPCA’s role is purely to cater for the welfare of the animals,” Hilton said.

The inaugural office bearers of the Australian Rodeo Federation are president Bill Urquahard (NRA), of Brisbane, vice president Greg Frewin (ABCRA), of Eumungerie, NSW, secretary Glen Mansfield (APRA) from Tamworth, NSW, and treasurer Darryl Baulch (CRCA), of Rockhampton.

Dale Frahm (NRA), Steve Hilton (APRA) and Les Flohr (CRCA) will be three of the board member. Each affiliated organisation will be represented on the board of the federation.

Urquhard has been involved in the sport for 40 years and said down the years some efforts had been made to unite the sport.

“We need solidarity, every rodeo competition being run under the same animal welfare code,” Urquahart said.

“If the Olympics were in Canada and rodeo was a demonstration sport, Australia couldn’t compete as we are not recognised as a sport by the Federal Government.

“We want to be recognised as a sport and to achieve that, we have to be united”

He stressed rodeo was more than a sport, it was an industry in its own right which provided a major economic benefit to many communities.

While Federal Government recognition could bring additional funding, Hilton is just as keen that government recognition will boost the strong high school rodeo program and coach accreditation.

The federation will meet again within the next month and then four times a year.
 



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Australian Professional Rodeo Association
Postal Address: PO BOX 264, Warwick QLD 4370
Office Address: 4 Alice St, Warwick QLD 4370
Ph: 07 4661 8183 - Fx: 07 4661 4990 - Email: apra@prorodeo.com.au
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