The first Rodeo ever recorded in Coonamble was run in conjunction with the annual P & A Show in 1934. It consisted of one event – a steer ride, won by Mr Doug Fisher. One off events such as these were held each year with all proceeds going to charity. In 1946 the Coonamble Rodeo Association was formed and Rodeo’s were held in the middle of a hard dirt paddock where stock often got away and were “lost” for days!
In 1955 timber yards were built and the first official rodeo to be held in them was on November 12 1955. In 1958 the Rodeo Association was registered as a charitable organisation and all proceeds from the event in the past have been distributed to worthwhile organisations and causes in the community.
In 1964 the timber yards were replaced and upgraded by the Coonamble Shire Council. The giant sign that still stands today was built in 1984 and features paintings of Peter Burtenshaw, Johnny Lundholm and Glenn Peacock. The current steel yards were built in 1985 for the Australian Rodeo Championships, which were a resounding success.
The first Australian National Championships were held in Coonamble in 1971 and were sponsored by Amoco. Carlton United Breweries became a major sponsor in the 80’s with local business continually supporting the event throughout the years.
Today the Coonamble Rodeo & Campdraft attracts crowds of up to 6000, with the event injecting approximately $1.4million into the local economy.
Future plans include covering the existing arena to allow all weather usage and prevent poor attendances due to bad weather. In 2010 the Association agreed to relocate the campdrafting arena and yards to the Southern end of the showground precinct which will improve access and overcrowding at the Northen end of the ground.