Pacific Cowboys at Lope Lope

Pacific Cowboys Coming to Santo, Vanuatu

Espiritu Santo’s  second rodeo promises to be bigger and better than ever with riders from New Caledonia and Australia joining the local boys in a three-day event at the end of July.

Santo Rodeo at Lope Lope Adventure Lodge Santo Vanuatu

A late-night dare sparked the inaugural Santo Rodeo in 2011. Founding committee members Kevin Henderson and  Pierre Marriotti  were travelling in neighbouring Noumea when they were issued with a light-hearted challenge - “You bloke’s wouldn’t even know how to start a Rodeo.”  Several weeks later, with the support of the local community and businesses the first Santo Rodeo proved to be one of the most well attended and talked about events of the year.

In 2011, the rodeo drew a crowd of more than 2000 people, including locals, ex-pats and tourists. A major part of the event’s success is it’s inclusiveness.  “It’s a family event,” says committee chairperson Kevin Henderson, “A few days of entertainment that is open to everyone, and owned by everyone in the Santo.” Attendance at the event is free and there is no entry fee for competition riders. “The kid’s have a great time,” Kevin continues “and it’s an event where a father with eight kids can still afford to bring the whole family along. “

This year the rodeo will feature shows, fun activities for kids, horse racing, as well as the serious rodeo riding competitions. Professional cowboys and stockmen from New Caledonia and Australia will be assisting the event with demonstrations, rodeo safety, and riding clinics.

Agricultural is a major industry in the region, and export-quality beef is one of  Santo’s prime products.  One of the aims of the rodeo is to promote the achievements of this sector.

It is also an opportunity for local stockmen to showcase their skills and take pride in their profession. Winners will travel to New Caledonia to participate in ‘Le Faire de Koumac’ – New Caledonia’s premier rodeo competition.  “The three boys who went last year can hold their heads up high, ” says Kevin Henderson with pride, “I was told that their riding was on par with the locals, and also that their behavior at the after-rodeo functions was impeccable.”

Support for the event from local businesses with donations of materials and prizes has been tremendous. “There are still many opportunities for sponsorship, says Kevin, “and any funds which are not required this year will be retained for the following year’s competition.”   One of the highlights and main fundraising ventures this year will be the crowning of ‘Miss Santo Rodeo’ at Lope Lope Adventure Lodge.

Rodeo Committee Coordinator, Julia Rahui, can be contacted for more information, sponsorship opportunities and donation of prizes,  or ticket sales to the Miss Santo Rodeo Competition Fundraising night.  

Email:, or telephone +678 5971388




14 July 2012 – Miss Santo Rodeo Competition and Fancy Dress Ball

Lope Lope Adventure Lodge


25 July 2012 ­– Rodeo Registration

Club Aqua


27 July 2012 – Rodeo Agricultural Day

Leemans Plantation


28 July 2012 – Rodeo Competition Day

Leemans Plantation


29 July 2012 – Rodeo Competition Day and Prize-Giving

Leemans Plantation

Lope Lope Adventure Lodge - Santo Vanuatu Holiday Resort - 2015