Arising from the stockman’s skill in capturing feral or wild cattle, public “rough riding” events like bullock-throwing took place in Victoria during the 1880s. Travelling rodeos provided displays of riding bucking horses and bullocks, whipcracking, performing dogs and ponies and rope-spinning.
American-style contests of clowns, ropers and trick riders were added to the programme to promote more public interest. By the late 1960s Australian roughriders were known as cowboys and rode broncs instead of buckjumpers and R.M. Williams clothing came to the market.
In 1968, the Tamworth branch of the Modern Country Music Association ran a talent quest which may have been the predecessor of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which nowadays is one of the most unique in the world. Thousands stroll down the city’s tree lined Peel Street and 3 blocks are closed to traffic over the Festival and down the entire length are buskers, of whom, some have been coming to the same spot for years. You’ll hear some of the best and worst performers in the nation! There are individuals, groups and bands, all ages, some shy, some flamboyant, playing all kinds of music. You might pause to listen to an aboriginal country rock band from Arnhem Land, while just a few metres away there’s an old yodeller from Bourke, singing Slim Dusty songs, both competing for audience with a crooning kid with a blue guitar from Tasmania. And don’t imagine for a moment that any of these buskers are no-hopers! Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley and Keith Urban are just a few of the stars who have trodden the Peel Street pavements as youngsters awaiting that pivotal event – the glamorous Golden Guitar Awards

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