While we were working at Napperby, we had the opportunity to go to a cattle station social event that’s one of the highlights of the year for many jackeroos and jilleroos in the Northern Territory – Aileron Station’s Annual Bush Weekend.
Aileron is one of Napperby’s closest neighbours and all station staff went to the event – making it a lovely ‘family’ occasion. It was interesting to meet people living and working at other stations in the area, but the highlight of the weekend was the rodeo.
We’d been to a Rodeo in Texas during our road trip across America, but this was very different. Whereas in America everyone was watching the event on the edges of their seats, here everyone was far more laid back; talking, drinking and enjoying the rodeo while socialising. We were also far closer to the action!
People seemed more relaxed about the animals here – there was never a rush to get a bull back in its pen. In fact, the animals seemed quite well-trained and would run directly back into their pens as soon as their rider was unseated.
Just like the first time I’d seen it, I was struck by how brave (and stupid) these people were – and how much skill was involved.
As with America, there was some fun and games involved here too – the funniest thing to watch was the Mexican donkey race, which involved putting on a poncho and sombrero, eating a shot of beans (why beans??), downing a shot of tequila and racing your (wild) donkey bareback across the finish line.
We even got to sleep out in our swags under the stars…
We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to go to Aileron. This is one of those experiences that you just can’t get as a tourist – and it’s exactly why we wanted to experience real life in Australia.