By Mariah Lall
Photos by Keno George
The stands of the Triple ‘R’ Rodeo Arena came alive over the Easter weekend as hundreds of local and international patrons journeyed to the Region 9 to be part of the annual Rupununi Ranchers’ Rodeo.
The two-day event began with Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock leading the vaquero parade from the Lethem Airstrip into the arena attired as a cowboy in what the Regional Chairman, Bryan Allicock dubbed as a “historic occurrence”.
In his remarks to the people of Region Nine, the Minister reaffirmed the commitment of his ministry to support traditions such as the Rodeo, saying, “The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs will stay committed to offering support to activities in the region that are properly thought out and supported so that we can have economic growth in this region.”
He further stressed the importance of hard work and co-operation noting that although the rodeo event started years ago, it is has grown to become one of the most anticipated annual activities on the Guyanese calendar of events.
However, he stressed that this did not come without hard work and co-operation, thus he went on to encourage the residents to work together for other events that can be just as successful as the rodeo.
“Talk is cheap, we need action; we can only achieve this if we truly understand and respect the value of each other. I’d like to say that together we can achieve this; I am aware of the talents that we have in this region.
But there are difficulties; there are red tapes; there are humps because of the leadership in a lot of areas is tampered with by politics and we cannot achieve the things that we want, the things we need for survival, if we are divided,” he said.
He went on to encourage those who hold positions that contribute to the development of the region to use their power for the people and not for individuals before saying, “Some of us have attitudes that deters development; some of us speak cooperation but act in division.”
Meantime, Allicock congratulated the successful candidates who would have contested the recent Local Government Elections, stressing once again the importance of good governance and co-operation.
“Again I ask of them to think of each and every soul within their constituency and each and every soul in this region because this is a government that is for each and every one and we all have a value.
We do not want to see people attacking each other; attack issues rather than each other…. We need to now develop the imagination so that we can create more wonderful things for us here; we cannot remain dormant. We have the opportunity, we have the capability and we have partners that we can work with,” the Minister said before officially declaring the rodeo open.
And as the event got underway, patrons got a chance to experience the “wild side” of the Rupununi as both male and female vaqueros spent the remainder of the event displaying the talent of the Rupununi at what some said was the biggest rodeo held thus far.
Events included ‘bare back bronco’, wild cow milking, saddle bronco and even a ‘greasy pig’ competition, all of which captivated the hundreds of patrons who flocked the area to get a glimpse of the action.
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) also provided entertainment with a showcase of the talents of their paratroopers; a show that began from approximately 6,000 feet above the Lethem area as the ten GDF members descended.
Patrons were also provided with the opportunity for helicopter rides over Lethem sponsored by Air Services Limited as well as the option to sample Rupununi and Brazilian delicacies all of which were on sale at the arena.
Sponsors of the two-day event included the Ministry of Public Telecommuni-cations and Tourism, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Conservation International, Republic Bank, GBTI, Farfan and Mendes and Air Services Limited among others.