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Bronco Branding SA

A little bit of History

The first ever Bronco Branding Competition was held in Alice Springs in May of 1984. It was run by the late RM Williams. Oodnadatta hosted its first Bronco Branding Event in August of 1984 at Macumba Station. In 1991 Queensland held its first Bronco Branding Competition at Stonehenge run by Jimmy Nunn. In 1995 Queensland introduced the Doubles Bronco Branding Events.

The Australian National Bronco Branding Championships have been held at:

  • Winton, Queensland in 1995
  • Oodnadatta, South Australia in 1996
  • Longreach, Queensland in 1998
  • Oodnadatta, South Australia in 2000
  • Stonehenge, Queensland in 2002
  • William Creek, South Australia in 2004
  • Windorah, Queensland in 2006
  • Oodnadatta, South Australia in 2007
  • Camooweal, Queensland in 2008
  • Marla, South Australia in 2009
  • Birdsville, Queensland in 2010
  • Marree, South Australia in 2011
  • Longreach, Queensland in 2012
  • William Creek, South Australia in 2013
  • Stonehenge, Queensland in 2014
  • Oodnadatta, South Australia in 2015
  • Mt Isa, Queensland in 2016
  • William Creek, South Australia in 2017
  • Alice Springs, Northern Territory in 2018

The 2018 National Bronco Branding Championships are to be held in Alice Springs on September 15th.

See History Gallery for Photos

Method

Bronco Branding is Australia’s traditional method of branding cattle in the outback. This unique method of branding cattle has been practised on most of the cattle stations throughout Australia. It involves the stockmen mustering the mob and holding them, whilst the catcher, usually the head stockman or experienced ringer, ropes an unbranded beast (clean skin) from his horse. The catch is pulled to the bronco panel or a tree, leg ropes are applied and used to secure the beast to the ground. This method is still used on large remote cattle stations today, but holding yards have been built to confine the mob. Using this method, cattle can be mustered and branded in one day without drafting. It eliminates the cost of building large drafting yards or driving cattle long distances.

The Competition

Singles:
Each team consists of four members, one catcher and three ground crew – a front leg roper, a back leg roper and a brander.  The catcher catches the clean skin and the ground crew leg ropes it to the bronco panel, scruffs it to the ground, paint brands and ear marks it. This is a timed event.

There is one round during which each team is required to catch three calves. The six fastest teams progress to the finals round. The scores from both rounds are then added together to determine the final placings.

Doubles:
Each team consists of five members, two catchers with three ground crew, just as in the singles competition. The procedure is the same excepting that five calves are caught rather than three.

Check out the rules here.

You can experience this outback tradition by heading bush and coming along to the Bronco Branding Shows held throughout the South Australian Outback.

Upcoming events.