Posted on October 29, 2015 by Janelle Barraclough


2015 Rodeo Queen of Australia Miss Latoya Wards will be jetting into Dalby later today as part of a whirlwind tour of the region to help promote this weekends National Rodeo Finals to be held at the Dalby Showgrounds 30th October – 1st November.

As Rodeo Queen of Australia, Miss Wards plays a pivotal role in the promotion of rodeo and travels extensively throughout the country and abroad encouraging participation in the sport through a number of planned promotions and appearances.

While in Dalby, Latoya will be visiting local schools, nursing homes and shopping centres to help raise awareness about the event.

Latoya first became involved in the sport back in 2007 when her Dad introduced her to then Rodeo Queen of Australia, Miss Rochelle Harrison. She vividly recalls her conversation with Rochelle who told her she would make an amazing Queen and ever since that fateful meeting, she has always held the thought in the back of her mind.

It took until 2013 when Latoya met another Rodeo Queen of Australia Miss Danielle Quinsee (who also encouraged her to enter the competition) and she was sold, entering the quest soon after.

Miss Wards says, “I entered the Australian Rodeo Queen Quest because I wanted to become a public figure and be a role model for my sister, to show her that if you work hard you can be what ever you want to be especially when you have to start at the bottom.”

The Australian Rodeo Queen Quest helps empower rural women by encouraging them to get active in sport and in their community. It is designed to open new windows of opportunities by teaching women the importance of self-worth, confidence, deportment and how to represent themselves in a positive manner.

Latoya currently competes in the ladies barrel race event on her Quarter Horse ‘Cruisee’ and what she love’s most is that everyone shares the same passion for the sport and their horses. She also enjoys the adrenalin rush that comes with competing and the bond you forge with your horse.

This year will be the first time she has attended a National Rodeo Finals event and she is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the show by making her debut as Rodeo Queen of Australia while leading the grand entry carrying the Australian flag.

Aside from participating in the grand entry, her most important role is to be a positive role model for women in rodeos by inspiring them to believe that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

Latoya’s next promotion will be at Rokewood rodeo in Victoria on the 21st of November where she will be involved with the grand entry and the crowning of the Rokewood rodeo ‘Mr and Miss Rodeo’ competition in addition to the ‘Tiny Tots’ and ‘Princesses and Princes’ competition.

2015 Rodeo Queen of Australia Miss Latoya Wards will be available for photos and autograph signing at this weekends National Rodeo Finals event for both sessions; Friday and Saturday Night. Latoya says, “I'm so excited to meet everyone and show Australia why I'm proud to represent them as Australia's Rodeo Queen.” Don’t miss out!

Posted in Australian Rodeo Queen, Australian Rodeo Queen Quest, Dalby Rodeo, Latoya Wards, Miss Rodeo Australia, National Finals, National Rodeo Finals, Rodeo Queen, Rodeo Queen of Australia

Australian Rodeo Legend heads for Dalby National Rodeo Finals!

Posted on October 27, 2015 by Janelle Barraclough


National Rodeo Council director and President of Rodeo Services Association, Colin McTaggart needs no introduction to rodeo competitors and fans.

Hailing from a family deeply entrenched in rodeo
and western pleasure, Colin’s involvement in the sport has always been a family tradition. His father Hilton was Australasian Buckjump Champion in 1931 followed by elder brother Kevin who won Australian titles in buckjump riding, bareback riding and bullock riding, while brother Max won many state titles in rough stock and timed events.

Next brother in line, Malcolm won a few buckjump and bullock rides but he was a true bushman and that was the life he lived, far from the city lights.
Colin first started competing in 1953 and entered his last rodeo ride in 1979 claiming five Australian titles and many state titles during his illustrious rodeo career. Younger brother Bruce was a good all rounder who won a lot of state titles also.
The McTaggart brothers were fiercely competitive with Colin, Kevin and Bruce all winning open bronc rides at Warwick Rodeo; the only three brothers to ever achieve this feat.
Some of Col’s most memorable moments in the sport included winning the open buckjump at Rockhampton in 1954, which proved to be a great confidence booster to help kick start his career. He moved on to win every major saddle bronc ride in Australia except for Mount Isa, and it was here where he experienced his most cherished win when he finally won in 1969.

Photo Credit: Colin McTaggart, Warwick Rodeo QLD

When asked, 'How has rodeo changed today from when you first started?' Col recalls, “Rodeo has changed a lot over the years. When I first started, the arena’s were as big as the campdraft arenas and very hard; there were no ploughed up or sand filled arena’s in those days. Now there are better conditions for livestock and competitors, they have smaller arena’s, which are either ploughed or sand filled and contract stock has also seen a big improvement for the welfare of animals used in rodeo.”

Colin’s heroes during his earlier competitive years were Bernie Smythe Sr, Alan Bennett, Alan Woods and his brother Kevin McTaggart.
Colin wins the buckjump competition at Boggabilla Rodeo, aboard 'Tornado', Photo W. Lee
When Colin first started in rodeo, he was unsure how long he would be connected with the sport, however during his involvement, it became his life and for that, he decided to put something back into the sport just as he had drawn from it from competing to promoting rodeos, to running a rodeo association for 60 years. “I feel I have at least repaid some of it back,” says Colin.

When asked ‘Do you have any advice or tips for young rodeo competitors competing in rodeo today?’ Colin responded, “I think the young wannabes of today have a great advantage over us
when we first started riding, competitors today have the choice of professional instructors who run schools to get them started the correct way and advise them on the right equipment to use.”

As we draw closer to this weekend’s National Rodeo Finals, Col says, “To qualify for the National Rodeo Finals is a great achievement and a bonus for competitors who put a lot of effort into their yearly competition. It is a great honour to win a national title.”

In addition to his duties as Rodeo Manager for the National Rodeo Council of Australia (NRCA) National Rodeo Finals event, Colin recently introduced another great add-on event to the show with the Unique Horseman Australian Colt Starting Challenge.

Col says, “For a lot of years I have held the belief that we have many great horsemen and women in Australia which is why we started the Unique Horseman competition to showcase their skills to the public. My daughter Kim McTaggart will run the overall Challenge and I will be there to support her wherever I can. This year there is a great line-up of Legend Horsemen and Young Guns, (6) six in total who will be handling unbroken horses with their own individual styles and techniques while (3) judges watch and score each of them over (3) three days.

Widely praised for his dedication and commitment to the sport of rodeo and revered by his piers and the younger generation alike; Col McTaggart is a true gentleman of the sport and a one of a kind truly unique Australian Cowboy!

Posted in Colin McTaggart, Dalby Rodeo, National Finals, National Rodeo Finals, The Unique Horseman