Bedourie – The Home Of Outback Fun

Outback Events Take Over Bedourie

Promoted as an oasis in the desert, Bedourie, with a local population of just 140, lies 1,620 km west of Brisbane and just over 100km east of the Northern Territory border on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Out here, where they are slowly recovering from years of drought, the locals, with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude to life, are a truly hardy bunch who, despite their remoteness and hardships, clearly know how to party and turn on a good time.

They are also a competitive lot and thrive on any challenge that comes their way. With all this in mind, each year in July this tiny community pulls together to turn on over consecutive weekends, a jam-packed smorgasbord of outback events that has to be seen to be believed. Timed as ‘book-end’ events around the ‘Big Red Bash’ held in nearby Birdsville (a huge three-day mid-week music event), Bedourie’s first weekend (in fact, a three-day affair) this year was a non-stop ‘horse and cattle’ affair.

First day action saw competitive rounds of camp drafting involving horse and riders cutting out a steer from a mob in a small ‘camp’ enclosure and then manoeuvring the beast around various obstacles in the main arena all within a short, set time. All age groups were involved and it was certainly encouraging to see the talent of many of the youngsters out there on display. In fact, it was a real joy to watch the skilled bush horsemanship as well as the toughness and fearless courage exhibited by this talented bunch of cowboys and girls throughout the whole weekend.

As the three-day event progressed, the program moved on to an action packed series of gymkhana challenges with barrel races, a timed keyhole event, obstacle course races and an hilarious musical chairs game involving bareback riders trotting around a circle and then (at the drop of a flag), jumping off their mounts and diving headlong into the middle of the circuit to pick up a batten, eliminating those who weren’t quick enough to grab one.

Night time rodeo then swung into action, with plenty of thrills and spills as kids riding poddy calves led onto exciting steer riding, saddle bronc events and then finally, what everyone was waiting for, the excitement of wild bull riding. With bulls going by names such as Dynamite, Big-Al, Spinifex and many other colourful, even intimidating titles, it seemed certain that this could be a real bruising spectacle. In the end however, there were probably more bruised egos amongst the fearless riders than real injuries, as clearly the bulls came out on top as they quickly dispatched their riders into the air and onto the ground with a heavy ‘thump’, or, on one occasion, unceremonially straight into the boundary fence! Ouch!

Back to blog