The Australian Professional Rodeo Association [APRA] Hall of Fame Induction Committee, Bonny Young, John Gill and Darryl Kong recently announced that Carrieton Rodeo Committee, and the late Tom Willoughby, are being inducted in to the prestigious Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre Hall of Fame in Warwick, Queensland, in October.
Kong advised that Inductees were selected not only for their achievements in the arena but also for their contribution to the sport they love. The Carrieton Committee has supported the ARRA [Australian Rough Riders Association] and now the APRA for many years and we are proud to be associated with them.
Carrieton staged their 60th rodeo in 2012 and the club is still going strong. Here was a small community banding together right from scratch in 1953, to produce a championship event. They worked a deal with the Hawker Rodeo for the initial loan of horses and they eventually went on to amass their own string of buck jumpers and continues to do so.
They were in fact the only known centre who had six grey horses in their Final Team. They were Duchess, Windy Hill, My Mabel, Misery, Maralinga and Delta and as Dick White, winner of the State Title in 1960 quoted: “They had victories over people who had made a profession as being a saddle bronc rider.”
The help by others in donating towards their success has been excellent and of course the committee has in return backed such all-important enterprises as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other local projects.
Tom Willoughby was known as gentleman through and through. He came from Crookwell, New South Wales and along with his brothers Les, Reg, Kevin and Allen they went to rodeos all over their home State. Tom in fact still retains a record he set by being the only member who has won an Australian Championship in each of the then major events plus was All Round Champion in 1947 and 1951.
He retired in 1956 after beating Dally Holden for his fourth win of the bullock riding contest. He was elected to the position of President after being a Vice President as well as an Area Councillor. Perhaps one of the most outstanding rides he ever made was in the finals of the Australian Championships at Rockhampton in 1951.
For his final mount he had drawn the notorious Wombi, a chunky bay that had thrown Tom in the same type of finals two years before. Wombi had never been ridden for the full ten seconds but he had met his match that afternoon with many saying it was the best ride they had ever seen.
Another great performance by Tom was at the Bowen River Rodeo on the Queensland North Coast. He had drawn the feature ride on the great Sonoma Rose. As luck would have it the Association saddles had not arrived and Tom used a Carr Stock Saddle for the contest.
The mare, unridden throughout her career had to concede defeat after the regulation ten seconds came up but to her credit she threw the Crookwell rider soon after.
We look forward to celebrating with a dinner in October in Warwick, the night prior to the commencement of the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals. This will be a great opportunity for everyone to stay on and watch the great spectacle that is the National Finals over the next four days if they can. The Rodeo Heritage Centre Committee will also incorporate a Cowboy Reunion with the Induction Dinner.
Other Inductees are Bob Holder, Pat Speedy, Wally Woods, Kyabram and Mount Isa Rodeo committees.
Tickets for the Induction Presentations and Cowboy Reunion will be sold through the Head Office. For further information such as times and prices for the night contact APRA Head Office 0746618183.