© Brenda Joy

Winner, Serious Section and Overall 2012, ‘Snowy Mountains Muster’, Jindabyne, NSW.

There’s a tale they tell around Marrabel where the byways weave their course.
Rising proud on high under cobalt sky is a bronze of man and horse.
It’s a statue cast for the deeds long past of a brumby, strawberry mare
and for Woods’ short ride when he stayed astride as the man who won the dare.

It evokes the thrills of success and spills at the yearly rodeo
and I hear a song from the thousands strong for the Waler, Curio.
Of the Aussie breed, line of strength and speed, from the Kidman, outback stud,
through the origin of her kith and kin, courage flowed within her blood.

In far north S.A. – Oodnadatta way – on Macumba’s vast expanse,
at the desert’s rim, where all live at whim of the Simpson’s dry advance,
as a three year old she was wild and bold in the land of harsh extremes,
but those days would end with her southward wend to a world of man-made dreams.

Never servile horse, for another course she was destined to fulfil.
When ‘R.M.’ first chose her for rodeos he foresaw her innate skill.
Once at Marrabel, early trials would tell – as each victim took his fall –
from the very start she could break the heart of each man of guts and gall.

So she’d graduate to a higher state in the span of just one year,
as the word was spread with a sense of dread of a ‘Feature Horse’ to fear.
Like a ball of fire with just one desire with unique and lethal flair,
her distinctive buck with its twist and suck tossed her victims in the air.

To be put to test the rough-rider, best of contenders nation-wide,
would by invite come hoping she’d succumb to that brief ten second ride.
But their hopes were slain, Curio would reign as a legend in her time.
‘Queen of Rodeo’, for eight years she’d know no defeat whilst in her prime.

But in ‘53, so it came to be, that a man, above the norm,
in a battle fraught with upheavals fought through to weather out the storm.
Though controversy marred the victory, Alan Woods, against all odds,
overcame the force of the gallant horse through the blessing of the gods.

Then in ‘54 he returned once more set to re-attempt the feat.
He out-rode K.O. and went on to show that the honour was complete.
It was heard expressed she was past her best, but all doubts were put aside
when for six more years she would reap the cheers as she ruled the ring with pride.

To the stirring strain of her own refrain emanating from the stands,
with her crowd appeal she could rouse their zeal; she exceeded their demands.
Then her sons could take on the buckjump stake, as her age impinged her flair,
but she’d earned her fame and the throngs still came for the legendary mare.

That’s the tale they tell around Marrabel for the magic has not gone,
when the crowds arrive and the riders strive and the rodeo is on.
And within the grounds where the sights and sounds bring the little town alive,
“Curio!” crowd sings so her praise still rings and the legend will survive.

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