Hamilton takes to the saddle at New Year's Eve rodeo
For some cowboys, the best way to ring in the new year was riding high on an adrenaline rush at the New Year's Eve Rodeo at Mitchell.
The rodeo, which was the first in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association 2018 season, saw local favourites face off against out of town opponents over three rough stock events, the saddle bronc, bareback bronc and bull rides, and a ladies barrel race.
The final event of the evening was the highly anticipated saddlebronc ride, which offered the crowd thrills and spills.
Local favourite Greg Hamilton was up against stiff competition in the form of Cody Angland, who stormed out of the chute to secure a 78 point lead in the first round.
After a couple of non-scoring runs, Hamilton rode an impressive eight seconds in the rain, as a squall descended on the grounds.
He was awarded 72 points for his effort, which earned him a spot in the final shootout, with Benam Underwood, Clayton Brayden and Cody Angland.
Brayden showed his excitement at his bronc draw, and subsequently put on a superb performance on Moves Like Jagger, securing himself a 78 point score.
This number remained the one to beat. Underwood picked up 72.5 points on Bomb, and an early tumble just outside the chute saw Angland disqualified.
The crowd cheered as Hamilton put on the final performance of the evening. Unfortunately, a high buck just out of the chute grounded both horse and rider.
Hamilton received medical attention after the fall, escaping with minor injury.
Brayden's 78 point ride held, and he took home the saddlebronc win.
The winner of the open bareback bronc ride, David Worsfold, said the rodeo had been the perfect way to start 2018.
"2017 has been one of the best years I've had for rodeo, won some big events and managed to set some records, so I'm looking forward to this year,” Worsfold said.
"Any win is a good one, but this one is even better, it's a great way to finish up a year and start the new one in high spirits.
"I'm getting towards the end of my career so it's great to feel I am able to hold my own amongst the young fellas, and beat them occasionally.”
Booringa Action Group committee member Jane Cornish said the popularity of the event exceeded expectations.
"Mitchell had New Year's Eve rodeos in the past. Last year it stopped for a while and we did a beach bash instead.
"But this year we came back to the original format with a few changes: We added in the kids' events and games, and we made it a pro rodeo as opposed to a QRA-run rodeo.
"I think the event was fantastic,” Cornish said.
"There were so many people who turned out for it.
"When you looked up on the hill, it was packed, there had to have been around 500- 600 people there.
"And the best thing was everyone was so easy going.
"From what I saw, everyone enjoyed themselves and the quality of the riding and the stock knocked everything out of the park.”