Kiwi riders fly here to learn
LOOK out you local cowboys, a posse of Kiwi lads have mosied into town and they are here to kick butt!
Not exactly true but there are five Kiwis doing the rodeo circuit and they are here to learn more about rodeo rather than having expectations of great success.
Ryan Burns is one of the young Kiwis and he admits it is a bit tougher over here than back in his home country.
“In New Zealand there are only about 12 rodeos a year,” he said.
Burns is from a farming area on the South Island and is out here to further his experience in bull riding.
A big difference in Australia is the quality of stock at the shows with contractors supplying bulls that have been reared for bucking at rodeos.
While not collecting a winning cheque yet, “Burnsy” did manage a runner-up position during a recent trip south.
Next step for the Kiwi is employment that provides a more regular, and certain, payout.
“We hope to be here until Christmas,” he said, “I want to work on the land and I’m heading to Emerald for a job on a cattle property.”
Jared Mee is also from New Zealand’s South Island but he prefers the horseback events.
On the recent trip he didn’t manage an eight-second ride, tasting good Australian dirt in both Saddle Bronc and Bullride.
Like Burnsy he sees the trip to Australia to compete as a big experience.
“It’s a big step up, they really put on a good show and with better stock,” he said.
The pair have had a couple of training sessions at the Great Western’s Nissan Navara Arena and will be back for more on Saturday when they compete at a 4 Bs Rodeo.
Mee is over here with his wife Alison who, in New Zealand, competes in the Barrel Race.
Although the draw has yet to be made it seems likely the Kiwis will nominate, at least in the Bullride, an animal with plenty of points in it as contractor Brian Duggan is set to take his top 12 bulls to the rodeo and with 12 cowboys nominated the odds are in favour of drawing a top bull.
Two further New Zealand cowboys are set to face the challenge on Saturday with Jeremy Dillon and Cameron MacDonald also stepping forward.
One man who will have little sympathy if the Kiwi lads do gain a few bruises for trophies is Duggan who promises, as always, the bulls will put in a top show.
“Goody’s Titanic will be my star bull,” he said.
Recently the Duggan beast made short work of newly crowned Australian champion Troy Mara at a show at Emerald.
Stu Frame and Brett Cross are among the better known Central Queensland cowboys who will compete.
There also promises to be a good show in the horse events, especially the Barrel Race which has 20 nominations.