By Sylvia Stevens
Harrison Roche traveled quite a long way to compete in the buckaroo contest for Clare’s Wild West Day. Harrison came with his parents, Dale and Amy, all the way from Brisbane, Australia to visit his mother’s family in Clare.
“I moved to Australia 12 years old and had my son 5 years old,” Amy Roche said. “So he has an Australian passport and an American passport. So that’s why he likes to tell people he is Australian and American.”
While visiting Harrison gets to live out his dream of being a real cowboy as he explores his grandma and aunt’s farms.
“We have three acres right outside of town, just like a little farm,” Amy’s mother Sue Gawne said. “Her sister has a real farm with goats, chickens and a pig.”
So, the Wild West Day held by the Clare Chamber of Commerce was an extra special treat for the little Australian as he got to meet cowboy legends like John Wayne and Black Bart, watched a bank robbery and a reining demonstration.
The Roche’s and their extended family started their day by coming to watch Rob Petree, and his horse Farrah, demonstrate reining. Harrison even got to sit on Farrah’s back for a picture. They then went to hang out with a variety of cowboy hero’s like John Wayne and the Lone Ranger while waiting to compete in the buckaroo contest.
“He never wants to leave when we come here,” Amy Roche said.
“We use Google Earth quite a lot when we’re home so he can check on everything. He likes to see the sand hill where he goes to collect rocks,” Dale Roche said.
The Buckaroo contest had three age groups competing 1 to 3 years old, 4 to 6 years old and 7 to 9 years. One boy and one girl win a prize in each group. Since Harrison is five-years-old he competed with one other little boy and girl in his group. The groups were judged by the cowboys who had come to visit with families for the day. John Wayne and the rest of the posse declared Harrison the winner for his group and gave him a small toy for winning. He got yet another surprise when his grandma gave him a cowboy book as a present. They even got some of the cowboys to sign the book for him.
“We come back every year so we try to get back a bit more so he can see his grandma and grandpa. He wants to be a real cowboy so he looks like this every day, “Roche said. “He loves being a cowboy so we thought it would be a cool thing to come here for the buckaroo contest and he won.”