Meet the cowboys behind Double Barrel Entertainment

Lifting the profile of rodeo, one bucking bull at a time

What do you do when you hear on the grapevine that someone wants to hold a rodeo on their property, but has no idea how to get started?
You grab your hat, your boots and one of your best mates, start your own event company and become rodeo promoters.

Luckily, Mark Kestel and Weston Withers had rodeoed together for years, travelling up and down the country, doing everything from riding rough stock, judging events and donning the clown outfit. They’d both been a part of rodeos from both sides, as competitors and spectators and knew what worked and what didn’t. Now they were being given the chance to use that experience and create an event that appealed to a broader audience and introduce rodeo to the wider community.

Weston Withers | Double Barrel Entertainment

Weston Withers

Mark Kestel | Double Barrel Entertainment

Mark Kestel

The first event was at the Beerfarm in Metricup in WA’s south-west. Selling out the 3000 tickets 2 days before the event was a great result for the first-time event promoters. And the feedback across social media and the web was extremely positive. From here, Double Barrel Entertainment stepped in to take over the running of the Harvey Dickson Rodeo, and they haven’t looked back. Plans are well underway to make this event at Boyup Brook, one of Western Australia’s largest and best family festivals of rodeo, country music and camping.

 

Why does DBE make their rodeos a music and camping festival as well?

You’ll be hard pressed to find a cowboy that doesn’t enjoy a sing along to their favourite tune or a sleep out under the stars. And if you’re heading off to watch a rodeo, chances are you’ve got a little bit of cowboy running through your veins. That’s why a DBE event combines rodeo with music and camping – it’s a chance for you to embrace your inner jack-or-jillaroo, watch some A-grade entertainment and enjoy a festival of fun.

A DBE event isn’t just about watching the action in the arena. It’s also about you, your family and your friends creating life-long memories. We know that music has the ability to bring all sorts of people together; that camping gives you the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. So, we bring the two together for truly unforgettable events. You can either watch the live bands to get your toes tapping or you can sit around your campfire with your radio or guitar. Either way, DBE provide the venue to make music and camping the soundtrack and backdrop of your life.

Double Barrel Entertainment | Family friendly rodeo events
Roping and rodeo | Double Barrel Entertainment
Double Barrel Entertainment Country Music Events

How does a DBE event help the host town?

Double Barrel Entertainment is all about community. One of our earliest events was to help keep the rodeo community together in Boyup Brook. And when we hold an event, we want the local residents to be an integral part of it and share in the day. Wherever possible we use local suppliers for the event, including:

  • Food Vans
  • Beverages
  • Ice
  • Equipment hire
  • Support and security staff
  • Market stalls

Our events are coordinated with the local shires to help showcase the region and provide benefits to local business and the district, as a whole.

Meet Weston Withers

How did you get started in rodeo?

At 10, we moved to Boddington (about 120km south-east of Perth) where Dad got me my first horse. Before long I was competing in gymkhanas, playing polo cross and taking the horses out camping on weekends. The rodeo grounds had just been built and as I passed by one day, I saw some cowboys practicing – bucking out some rough stock.

Being all of 14 and having no fear and no idea, I convinced them to let me have a go. After a couple of rides, a somersault or two and a mouthful of dirt, I was well and truly hooked. I raced home on my old horse called Warts to tell my Dad that I wanted to be a cowboy. And Dad being Dad, he helped me every step of the way. By the time I was 15, I was competing in rodeos, riding bulls and bareback horses. I did this for nearly 10 years and loved every minute of it. These days, the bones are a bit creaky and the reflexes aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but Double Barrel Entertainment gives me the chance to still be a part of it. I still remember that feeling of adrenaline pumping through your body leading up to your ride, and the rush when that chute gate swings open. It is like nothing else so it’s great to be able to help inspire a new generation of competitors and get them to feel it too.

What’s the best thing about rodeo?

What I love most about rodeo is the community. Everyone always looks out for each other, helping you and encouraging you to always do your best. There are friendships formed on the rodeo circuit that last a lifetime.

Why is rodeo important to you today?

Rodeo is a great opportunity to get the whole family together and to do something out in the open air, away from screens and social media. It’s a chance to see cowboys and cowgirls doing what they love and for people to see just how much they love their animals and stock.

Meet Mark Kestel

How did you get started in rodeo?

I grew up in Carnamah which is about 300 kms north of Perth. I’d always loved horses and stock animals but had absolutely no intention of ever riding bucking ones.

The first rodeo I attended was in 1977 where I first met Weston at the Boddington rodeo. Much later at the tender age of 28, I was attending a rock festival at Bindoon where I watched spectators from the crowd getting on bulls after the main bull ride. I thought they were absolutely nuts! I had to see who these lunatics were and headed to the chutes for a closer look.

 

The next thing I know I’m behind the chutes and on my first bull. I may not have made the 8-second requirement, but I was hooked. For the next 10 years, I travelled this great country, meeting a huge cross-section of the community and having an absolute blast!

What’s the best thing about rodeo?

You can’t deny that there’s something addictive about the adrenaline and endorphin rush you get riding rodeo. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t put our bodies through it every competition. But what keeps us riding longer than we probably should is the friendships and levels of respect that form amongst the competitors. Sure, we’re trying to beat each other, but you honestly want your mate to do their best. And you really want your mate to do well against their head of stock.

Why is rodeo important to you today?

For me, rodeo is more than a competitive sport. It’s much more than the winning. I think rodeo is important today because of the community spirit it evokes for everyone involved. Traditionally rodeos were great opportunities to bring together people who were used to living in relative isolation on their stations. It was an opportunity to catch up, swap stories and settle arguments about who was the best in the arena. That sense of community is still alive today in the regions that hold a rodeo event. It provides an avenue for young men and women to channel their energy and focus into a positive event. It shows them there are no limitations in your life, except the ones you place on yourself. Because if you have the guts to get on a bull or a bronc and buck out of that chute, then you have the courage to do almost anything you can dream of.