Meet the Aussies behind the Port Vila Rodeo, which has been running – on and off – for almost 50 years.

Story Christine Retschlag  Photos Rachel Le Gal

The Ni-Vanuatu cowboys are wearing braided hair and wild Afros, while on the other side of the rails sit the chequered shirt Australians, the faces behind one of the South Pacific’s most successful rodeos for almost half a century.

It’s mid-August at one of Vanuatu’s monthly practice events which prepares the riders, and organisers, for the main Port Vila Rodeo weekend to be staged on October 7 and 8 this year. Over the course of this 2-day event, heats will be held on the first day with finals on the second.

The setting for both practice and main events is at Bellevue on a 400ha cattle property, 3km north-east of the centre of Vila. The private property is owned by Port Vila Rodeo president David Russet, whose grandfather was born in the NSW town of Boggabilla.

This story excerpt is from Issue #151

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023