Atmosphere ‘buzz’ gets teen hooked Atmosphere ‘buzz’ gets teen hooked
RODEO: Emerald teen Ellysa Kenny didn’t like rodeo as a kid but when she felt a “buzz” in the arena atmosphere she became hooked.
The feeling of riding out in front of rodeo crowds across the country is second to none, according to the 17-year-old, and it’s one of the motivations behind her pro tour win.
“When you compete at a rodeo that’s got heaps of people your horse gets pumped up and everything feels good,” Ellysa said.
She was named as the Australian Professional Rodeo Association breakaway roping Pro Tour winner after a season of competing across the country from Queensland to Victoria.
After nabbing the title in her first year in the senior competition, Ellysa was overwhelmed.
“I didn’t really see it coming because breakaway roping is pretty hotly contested at the moment,” Ellysa said.
Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied.
She competed against up to 50 women in at least one rodeo a week for the past year – sometimes she competed in up to three rodeos in a weekend.
From a rodeo family, Ellysa grew up around the arena, watching her dad compete and also work at the events but this year they stepped it up a notch.
“We rodeoed flat out,” she said.
The family packed up their lives and lived in Victoria from December to March to be closer to compete and work at the rodeo competitions.
Ellysa’s dad Shane Kenny contracts stock to the rodeos - when the Kenny family aren’t competing you can find them behind the scenes working.
She said the family affair was what made her enjoy the event so much.
Ellysa has two younger brothers who compete on the rodeo circuit.
“Whoever’s done the best gets the bragging rights,” she said.
While her younger brothers are on track to make the junior finals, Ellysa’s track record is one to beat – she held the under-11 barrel racing record for four years.
The modest teenager competes in a variety of events but her favourite is breakaway roping.
“I like it more because I can practise that and I don’t rely solely on my horse,” she said.
Ellysa practises almost every day, either in her backyard arena or out in the paddocks, lassoing livestock or dummies.
Her practice sessions will be her ritual until the national finals in Warwick, starting on October 24.