Dust, livestock, denim jeans, Akubra's, cowboy boots, the smell of dagwood dogs cooking and the sound of the showman's banter.......
These are the familiar sights, smells and sounds of the annually held Mareeba Rodeo that encompasses the township of Mareeba for 3 weeks of festivities and events. With the Mareeba & District Rodeo Association founded in 1949, this is an important event for the community to not only allow local's an occasion to look forward to yearly though also allowing travelers to experience the highlights that the Mareeba Rodeo provides!
With rodeo's being prominently a male dominated sport in the early years, in 1959 the Mareeba Rodeo Queen Competition started to allow the ladies to have their involvement also. The Rodeo Queen competition is open to residents of the Mareeba region with entrants between the age 16 to 25 years. Entrants are judged on personality, general knowledge, appearance, general conversation skills, deportment, speech and manners and given 5 questions relating to the Mareeba Rodeo. The community involvement continues within the region as local business and clubs are invited to sponsor or put an entrant forward. Each year a Rodeo Queen, Rodeo Princess and Miss Popularity are crowned at the Friday night downtown parade where local business can also showcase their craft, services with an array of floats, machinery and local clubs! As part of entering the competition, it is compulsory for all entrants to wear a 'Western Style' outfit comprising of a skirt and is worn to the variety of festival events.
In 2010, I embarked on the journey to be involved in making the rodeo entrant's custom outfits. At the time, I was working part time as a postal officer and operating my part time alterations/dressmaking business. Being my first year to do anything like this, I was apprehensive and not sure how to undertake the challenge of ensuring 13 girls looked individual, bringing out their true personality, all whilst working to style a look that would compliment white western boots and hat. For most of the entrants, the go to option of a basic vest, white shirt and straight skirt combination was decided upon, customising each with a different fabric combinations. One or two, took the plunge to change from the previously dominated white under shirt to a contrasting colour with one entrant even opting for a check dress!
From this experience my ideas started to roll in for the following year and my confidence grew with operating my business and juggling a part time job too! Over the past 7 years I have had the pleasure to work with 76 entrants in addition to a handful of Cowpoke entrants and junior cowgirls and cowboys. Working with each entrant, my creativity has really shone through to highlight the confidence of each entrant when they wore their design, allowing their personality to be truly expressed! Each and every girl has made the experience so far very memorable and as each year progresses their confidence to step outside the 'traditional box' has been ever growing!
This year by far has been the most adventurous for entrants! Conscious of what changes previous years girl's have made in addition to really creating a different overall look, they were more than happy to take any advice or ideas!
This opportunity has allowed Milva Carucci Designs to further it's community involvement in addition to integrating creativity and latest trends for new and exciting pieces! Having such a fantastic, ever growing relationship and community involvement is value I hold quite highly! I look forward to working with next year's entrant's in creating the perfect personality shining piece!