Rockhampton's Simon Batts in hospital after the accident.
Rockhampton's Simon Batts in hospital after the accident.

World watches on as Rocky rodeo raises $17K for injured duo

RODEO: The Great Western Hotel's Charity Bull Ride has raised more than $17,000 for two injured members of the rodeo community.

Gate takings from the January 27 event, which totalled $17,359.70, will be split between bull fighter Simon Batts and bull rider Sam O'Connor to help with their medical expenses and rehabilitation.

Batts, from Rockhampton, had a farming accident in which his spinal cord was severed, while Tully cowboy O'Connor suffered a broken back at the New Year's Eve PBR at the Western.

The charity bull ride, which will become an annual event, was the brainchild of hotel owners Colin and Vickie Bowden and general manager Beau Thomas.

Cowboy Sam O'Connor broke his back at the New Year's Eve PBR at the Great Western.
Cowboy Sam O'Connor broke his back at the New Year's Eve PBR at the Great Western. Bill North

The trio was thrilled the inaugural event went so well.

"We had just over 600 people attend and with just over 80 nominations it was one of largest rodeo/bull riding events we'd seen here in over 12 months,” Thomas said.

"The support from the rodeo and the local business community was amazing and overall it was a great success.

"It was fantastic for us as a venue that lives and breathes bull riding to be able to give back and help these two men out.”

Thomas said the event was live-streamed on Facebook and the viewing statistics were impressive, with viewers watching on from the US and England.

"The live-stream also included footage from both Sam and Simon, updating us on their journey, and that was very moving for everyone to see,” he said.

The Western is now preparing for the opening rounds of the Young Guns and Top Guns series, to be held on February 23 and 24.

"We can't wait to get back into it and hopefully we've got another big year of rodeo ahead of us,” Thomas said.

"We've made some changes to the venue to ensure each rodeo is a great experience for our ticket buyers.”

WHO WATCHED THE LIVE-STREAM

  • The live video organically reached 54,914 people's feeds
  • 4365 people viewed the live stream
  • 52 per cent of viewers were male, 47 per cent female
  • 86 per cent of the viewers were from Queensland, 5.37 per cent NSW, 2.17 per cent Northern Territory, 1.23 per cent Victoria, 0.542 per cent California, 0.331 per cent England


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