AUSTRALIA'S top 120 rodeo stars kicked up plenty of dirt and dust tonight at the first session of the Jupiters Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) National Finals Rodeo at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre at Broadbeach.
Australia's largest rodeo is the grand finale of the APRA season with the cowboys and cowgirls competing in six Australian championship events - Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping and Bull Riding
The evening's highlight was the first bull riding session - the ultimate test of cowboy courage and strength - in which the bulls could rightly claim the first-night honours with a score of 13-2.
Only Beadesert's Jared Borghero and Bouldercombe's Troy Mara managed to stay aboard for the full eight seconds and open up early leads in the race for the blue ribbon championship.
Their thirteen fellow competitors weren't so fortunate, all crashing to earth in spectacular style.
Rodeo organiser Mick Ellison said he was pleased that the rodeo had been so well supported by the Gold Coast community and participants in the national surf lifesaving titles.
"We had plenty of surf life savers walk over from the beach at Kurrawa to take in the rodeo action," Mr Ellison said.
"It provided them with the perfect end to their competition day and we look forward to hosting many more clubbies between now and Sunday," he said