The very best of the best

AUSTRALIAN Professional Rodeo Association executive board chairman Russell Collins believes hosting the 2015 National Finals Rodeo in Warwick will be a case of combining the best of the best in rodeo and campdrafting.

“The APRA and Warwick Show and Rodeo Society have agreed to host the ‘Warwick Rodeo Australian Championships’ in late October in conjunction with the Warwick Gold Cup campdraft, an internationally acclaimed event,’’ Collins said.

“It will be a real benefit having the Gold Cup and the NFR championship rodeo at the same venue at the same time.’’

The NFR will be contested on October 22-25 in Warwick by the top 15 in all eight APRA events and Collins expects competitors from all states to be among the qualifiers.

Collins said as Warwick was in southern Queensland and close to the New South Wales border, it was very central for the rodeo movement.

“It has an excellent arena. There can be storms in October and the arena stands up well year after year,” Collins said.

“The APRA head office and the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre are in Warwick and it is opportunistic to have the finals there so it is all under the one umbrella.

“It is a win-win for both the APRA and Warwick Show and Rodeo Society. It has been difficult financially for the APRA to run the finals as a stand-alone event.”

While first-division events at the Warwick Rodeo will be replaced by four rounds of the NFR, Collins said all second-division and novelty events, such as the women’s saddle bronc ride, would be held.

Collins said there would be prizemoney on offer for each of the four rounds of the National Finals Rodeo.

“There will be trophy buckles and trophy saddles for the winners of each of the eight championship titles and the all around for the top cowboy and cowgirl overall,” he said.

“Spectators will see the cream of the crop competing on the best stock available in four rounds. I expect a record crowd for the first day of the National Finals Rodeo on the Thursday night at the Warwick Showgrounds.

“With the top 15 in all events, there will be a higher percentage of completed rides in rough stock events and higher percentage of times in roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.”

Collins said the agreement to host the NFR at the Warwick Rodeo was for one year.

“If successful and both parties agree, we will carry on with it,” he said.

Four of the cowboys to watch in Warwick in October will be reigning all around champion Shane Iker (Alton Downs, QLD), former world all around rookie bull ride champion Brad Pierce (Tooma, NSW), Victorian timed event star Terry Evison and Shane Kenny, of Emerald (QLD), the most successful title winner in APRA history.

In cowgirl ranks, Cherie O’Donoghue (Lockington, VIC) has the most titles in history but will face a tough battle against Wendy Caban (Moree), Nichole Fitzpatrick (Willow Tree), Jane Fay (Warra, QLD) and Jill Lyons (Rockhampton, QLD).

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AUSTRALIA DAY 2015: Dubbo celebratesPhotos

AUSTRALIA DAY 2015: Dubbo celebrates | Photos Imogen and Mariah Ciusti with Elly Haksteeg. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Tahlya Gauntlett and Tyrone Townsend. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Phil Priest and his wife Annette with his Dubbo Citizen of the Year award. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.

Alleera Wright. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Maddi Birrell-Corney, Joanne Birrell and Stephen Corney. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

Sophia and Christine Nuguid. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Jessica Ferraro and Libby McIntyre. Photo: HANNAH SOOLE

Susan Wade and Nathan Bryon singing the National Anthem. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

David Williams. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE


Phil Priest accepting his award. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Flash mob dancers. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Flash mob dancers. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Flash mob dancers. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Katheryn and Harry Franks. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Imogen, Kylie and Mariah Giusti. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

Jess Hurbert and Nigel Hurbert. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Hamish and Darly Wood. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Libby McIntyre. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Lisa Clark with Janet and Jack Walkom. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Judy, Wayne and Lauren Amor. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Max and Betty Baker. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kyren, Tara and Declan Archer. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Sajida Rashid adn Khalida Rashid. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ehan, Ahamaa and Muhammad Rashia. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Mathew Dickerson, Mark Coulton, Robyn Coulton, Bridget Mann and Geoff Mann. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Carolyn Billards and Alisha Parker. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Neil Harris, Stuart Davies and Geoff Mncechnio. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Emily, Tim and Logan BeckenhamPhoto: BELINDA SOOLE

Robert Taylor, Dr Amy Cui, Tyrone Kiernan and Brendan Morris. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Jessie and John Letfallan. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Chantelle and Lincoln Letfallan. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ferret and Emma Tonkin. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Alice Clark and Simon Carolan-Work. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kate Hagan. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Tori and Jo Kleinig. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Mark Stacey and Ellyse Trudge. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Angus French and Elijah Stranger-Jones. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Sam Hagan. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Janie Perrett, mary Estens and Lana Estens. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Janine Perrett, Tim Cox, Grace Parker, Mathew Dickerson, Emma Corcoran, David Williams and Phil Priest. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Young Citizen of the Year Grace Parker. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

Australia Day celebrations in Dubbo.

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Triathlon series hailed a success

WITHa record number of competitors, the Isa Rats-hosted Queensland Country Credit Union North Queensland Series Triathlon event has been hailed a success.

Six different races were held across the morning at Lake Moondarra yesterday.

Isa Rats president Tonia Epstein said with help from volunteers, competitors and spectators, everyone enjoyed the day.

“It was a fantastic day and we are so happy with the number of people from West Queensland,” he said.

“We were hoping for 80 competitors and we had over 100.

“There were six events from senior to junior.

“The volunteers were just amazing and all the competitors said it was a great day.”

Isa Rats next club race will be on February 14, and they will have a booth at the Sports Expo at Buchanan Park February 1 for those that wish to find out more information.

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Australia Day 2015: Peter FitzSimons says it’s time to change the Australian flag

If the Australian flag itself was sighted on the shores of Gallipoli, it was rare indeed. Picture: MICHELE MOSSOPOPINION

Yup. Yup. Yup.

Every bloody Australia Day! Yetmorediscussion on why we need to change the Australian flag to something more emblematic of the nation we are – multicultural and cognisant of our Indigenous history – and not the nation we were – Great Britain in the South Seas. What iswrongwith people that they think having the flag of another nation as the key feature on our own flag is a tad on the sad side in the 21stcentury? How unpatriotic can you get?

Our blokes fought for each other, for the Empire, for the country, for the belief that their cause was just. But the idea that the winning entry from a magazine competition in 1901 got them going back then is ludicrous.

So this year, let’s not. Let’s take it as given that sensible people can see that the case for change is overwhelming.

Instead – in this centenary year of Anzac – let me just raise one quick counter-point to those who always, against change, are seduced by the sophomoric argument that, “our Diggers fought and died for that flag”.

They didn’t. At least not broadly, not in the Iwo Jima sense, nor in the sense of”the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there”.

In six books on World War I and World War II, I am yet to come across a passage in any contemporary diary or letter or newspaper account where the Australian flag was remotely significant. In the First World War, the flag we know today was barely known to Australians as a people, let alone soldiers rallying around it.

As Mike Carlton – the great man! – pointed out in his book,First Victory, on the occasion of the arrival in Sydney Harbour of the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy,HMAS Australia,just before that war began, theHeralditself felt obliged to explain that whilethe proud White Ensign of the King’s navy flew from her mainmast, from her foremast there was another …

“It is the Blue Ensign,” the reporter helpfully pointed out, “with a Southern Cross on the field, made of five-pointed stars and a six-pointed star underneath the Union Jack in the centre.” So unfamiliar, even the journo got the description wrong!Of course the flag we have today was not adopted until 1954, at the behest of Prime Minister Menzies.

Back on the battlefields of the Great War itself, Australian flags of any description were rarely sighted, and not what it was all about in any case.

There was nationalistic fervour, certainly, and I was fascinated to find in researching my last book, that when they landed on the shores of Gallipoli, some really did shout, “Come on, Australia!”

But if the Australian flag itself was sighted, it was rare indeed and I never came across reference to it. What I did note was that when Charles Bean and the Diggers needed a cover illustration for the book on their collective stories of Anzac, they chose – what else, but – an heroic image of a Digger charging forward under a large Union Jack!

But the whole notion of waving any version of the Australian flag about, on parade, or in battle? It was just not in our blokes’ nature.

At the moment your correspondent is doing a book on the battles of Fromelles and Pozieres and came across these two pearls.

“We French fight for our country, our ideals and our flag,” one of Marshal Foch’s soldiers noted before the battle of Pozieres.”Australians appear to fight because they like to fight.”

And this.

“One never sees or hears anything of patriotic fervour …” one-timeAgejournalist Lieutenant Alec Raws would note, before being one of the 30,000 Australian casualties from the British battle-plans at Fromelles and Pozieres. “If the men show anxiety to get to the fighting it is never from any idea of patriotism and loyalty, but only because they are sick of these so-and-so parades.”

Are there exceptions to these broad truths? Pedants will scramble like mad things to find them, and I wish them well. But they sell the Diggers short. Our blokes fought for each other, for the Empire, for the country, for the belief that their cause was just. But the idea that the winning entry from a magazine competition in 1901 got them going back then is ludicrous. And when the bullets were flying at Lone Pine, Fromelles, Pozieres, Tobruk and Kokoda they were looking after each other, and at the enemy, without an eye on a piece of cloth.

Happy Australia Day.

Peter FitzSimons is a director [email protected]


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Cheetahs take bite out of Tigers in grand final table tennis clash

Phil Hartwich and Chris Reynolds playing doubles in the B Grade Ararat Table Tennis grand final.CHEETAHS defeated Tigers in a thrilling grand final to be crowned the Ararat Table Tennis champions of 2014.

It was a close start to the A grade decider, with each team winning a game which saw it come down to the final clash.

Ben Hartwich won the night with his final game, beating Lajos Seres in an intense five set battle to guide the Cheetahs to grand final glory.

Seres was named the A grade leading player, with runner-up going to Sava Iezekil.

In B grade between Falcons and Ravens, the Falcons started off strongly with Tim and Kim Hartwich in strong form.

Ravens hit back late in the night, but it wasn’t enough as Falcons hung on for victory.

Kim Hartwich took out the leading B grade place, with two players finishing runner-up, Mick Saravanja and Tim Hartwich.

Anyone who is interested in playing table tennis in Ararat on a Monday evening can contact either Michael Egan 5352 5363 or Wayne Gason 5352 2094. It is a competition in which all ages can play.

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