‘Rupununi Rodeo can bring real economic benefits’ – Minister Gaskin
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, April 3, 2018
“The Rupununi Ranchers’ Rodeo is unique and unlike any other activity that you will find anywhere else in Guyana, and once developed and maintained as a premier national event, the real economic benefits will be realised.” This was the view posited by Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin during a visit to Lethem in Region Nine (Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo) to witness the annual event.
“We like to boast about our culture and our ethnic diversity, and I think when you come here to the Rodeo, it really hits home that this is real. We have an activity that has a strong Brazilian flavour, it has a North American flavour and it still has that Guyanese brand,” Minister Gaskin remarked.
Every year, during the Easter weekend the Rupununi vaqueros and ranchers compete to prove their supremacy at the Rodeo. This two-day festivity draws thousands of local and overseas tourists to the region, to witness competitions such bareback bronco (horse riding), and bull riding, horse and barrel race, ribbon roping, greasy pig, beer run and saddle bronco.
During this time, restaurants and hotels are fully booked, and craft shops and stores get their largest sales.
“We need more activities that will add to what the Rupununi has to offer because it’s not about just having one activity…Only then that is when we will start seeing the real economic benefits from these activities because, at the end of the day, it’s the economy that matters we want to know that everything we do has some economic value and can contribute to the wellbeing of our people,” the Minister emphasised.
Minister Gaskin commended the Rupununi Livestock Producers Association for maintaining such an activity and urged other organisers to create similar events that will attract tourists to the Rupununi.
The Rupununi Rodeo originated in the middle of the last century when vaqueros competed against each other in various skills; it later grew from being a centralised event in the hinterland village of St. Ignatius before moving to Lethem in 1985.
The event continues to generate regional and international acclaim and is the most popular inland sporting festival in the country, bringing thousands by bus, SUVs, and even motorbikes thronging through the road corridor leading to Lethem, or by plane.
In an effort to harness the potential of this event, the Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) have collaborated with several tour operators, who offer tour packages for the Rupununi Rodeo and other events that fall within the Easter period, under the ‘Re-Discover Home’ initiative.
By: Synieka Thorne