Peak Hill to Albury
© Chris Woodland
As usual they continued on presenting the show at many small villages and at larger towns such as Peak Hill, Parkes, Cootamundra (in Smith’s paddock); at Gundagai it was estimated that 800 persons were present one evening, many being turned away at the door. Some had travelled 30 or 40 miles solely for the purpose. Another night was cancelled because of rain, so it was often boom and bust for the show people. ‘Make hay while the sun shines”’ was an adage not exclusively intended for farmers.
The week following the Gundagai appearance the show performed near the Orient Hotel in Tumut. They played for two nights in Mr J Ball’s paddock in Wagga Wagga, where 1 500 people paid for admission on the Saturday night 1 December. The Wagga Wagga Advertiser claimed that Martini’s Buckjumping Show was the most Genuine Exhibition ever seen in Wagga Wagga.
The show opened for short season at Albury on December 22 where it was:
… hailed as absolutely the best of its-kind ever opened to a keenly critical Australian public. It is purely an Australian show — owned by an Australian and whose riders are principally composed of representatives of the original descendants of the soil. The distinctive feature about it is, its freedom from humbug and pretence. There is no bluff and blow … what- is advertised is carried out and the challenges thrown down are backed up by the money, men and horses.
Martini offered £10 to any local lad who could sit Bobs for a minute. There were no takers.
A Wodonga newspaper provided some details of Martini’s show saying that all the performing animals were enclosed by canvas walls about 12 feet high and that there were 14 lamps suspended across the centre of the enclosure, which gave ample light. There was plenty of ventilation and good seating accommodation. The burly Salt Bush Bill was still working wonders with his whips, while:
Mr Martini is master of ceremonies and in picturesque and pithy phraseology announces the order of events and moralises some regarding them.
They performed at Corowa at the town’s recreation reserve in the last days or 1906, then onto Benalla where they performed on Saturday night of January 12, 1907, in Mr Gilding’s paddock on the corner of Smythe and Bridge streets. On Monday, January 14, Ned Lloyd of Greta was promised £10 if he could sit on Bobs for one minute, but lasted only two bucks. Martini promised Lloyd that if he came back on Wednesday night he would be given £1 if he could get on the outlaw and £20 if he could stay on him for one minute. For some unknown reason Martini had the tent pulled down and there was no contest that Wednesday evening. The paper reported that: strong comments were made by members of the public. It appears that Martini, and possibly Lloyd, could see the possibility of increasing the stakes, as the contest was finally carried out in Wangaratta to a packed house. Lloyd was permitted to use his own saddle and bridle and gave a magnificent exhibition of riding before he was unseated after 8 ½ seconds of Bobs’ torturous bucking. Martini claimed that Lloyd had given the best account of any who had tried to master Bobs and presented him with £1 and a silver-mounted riding whip. He also offered him position as one of the show’s roughriders. Also, at Wangaratta a H. Mason, a well-known horseman of Everton, was hurled over Bob’s head after 4 ½ seconds of clinging to the pigskin.
At the end of January newspaper advertisements announced that the buckjumping show would be heading north back into New South Wales through Urana, Lockhart, Narrandera, Junee, Temora, Wyalong and beyond. They also announced:
TO THE PUBLIC— ‘BOBS’ the champion Buck-jumper, is a bay gelding, branded ST4 on the off shoulder. Beware of Imitations.
They opened in Urana on the first day of February to a crowded house. The attraction was to see a popular rider by the name of Sorely attempt to ride Bobs, but they were disappointed when Martini claimed that Sorely had only ridden the outlaw for seven seconds. Previous to this there had been a disagreement over the saddle to be used. The audience became very disorderly and Martini and Sorely’s arguing could not be heard over the din created by the onlookers. People were calling out for their money to be returned and shame, while others were supporting Martini. The Albury Banner reported that it nearly ended in an open brawl.
The buckjumping show was postponed at Coolamon until later in the month. The show was performed behind the convent in Narrandera where, on one night, Martin’s Buckjumpers were competing with an evening of hypnotism by Professor Bonner in the Public Hall.
Owing to the superior attractions of Martini’s Buckjumpers the Professor had only a thin house, but nevertheless went on with the programme.
Record attendances were recorded at Narrandera and drew large entries for the events. Veteran roughrider Harry Dempsey (father of the buckjumpers Jack and Arthur Dempsey) was awarded a silver mounted stockwhip by Martini in recognition of the assistance he gave the show.
In late February a 19 year old lad by the name of Mitchell met with a serious accident on Dollar Vale Station a few days after he had ridden in Martini’s buckjumping show at Junee. The lad’s future was in serious doubt.
About this time the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express reported that there had been a clash of dates at Coolamon with Martini’s show and a Scottish evening held for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church. Neither party was able to change their dates so they were both held simultaneously. Fortunately, it appears that attendances were almost equally divided.