Rodeos hit hard by crowd ban

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Rodeos across the region have been cancelled due to restrictions on crowd sizes, spelling disaster for the industry.

Following the government ban on crowds of more than 500, the Australian Professional Rodeo Association has cancelled upcoming rodeos including the Euroa Apex Pro Rodeo 2020 and the Echuca Pro Rodeo.

McPhee Rodeo director Garry McPhee said with all events cancelled, he was worried for the industry.

“We’ve probably come through the worst drought we’ve ever had so we don't have much grass and it costs about $10 000 a fortnight to feed these animals — that can only go on for a certain time,” he said.

“It is a worry because we can’t last too long without an income and if we’re still spending that much for four or five months, we’d be really in trouble.”

Mr McPhee said rodeos need at least a 1000-strong crowd to simply break even, with the average rodeo costing about $45 000 to $50 000 to run.

He ruled out TV coverage as an option to keep the industry alive because rodeos do not own TV rights.

“Once we get into winter time, footy is pretty strong to compete against down here too.

“We don’t have any jobs now, we had Euroa, Echuca, Griffith and Deniliquin, but now all of them are cancelled.

“We will keep feeding our bulls, horses and cattle until the money runs out, probably in three months at the moment.

“We really don’t know where we’re going.”