Looking to tame the beast
TONIGHT'S show is not the most lucrative in which professional bull rider Matt Ellis will appear, but it will be another step towards him mastering the beasts produced in Central Queensland.
The Victorian cowboy is a recent arrival in the area after spending eight years on the southern circuit.
The tall, lean bull rider has had a few practice sessions and ridden some of the bulls that are a part of the Central Queensland rodeo circuit.
From what he has seen, the beasts will provide him with a new challenge.
"They are a lot tougher stock up here," he said.
"Also, there is a lot more competition between riders. I am looking to the show as it will be a good battle between the riders."
Tonight's Classic Bull Ride at the Great Western's Nissan Navara Arena will see 20 top bulls from a multitude of stock contractors, who are based as far south as New South Wales, and at least 18 of CQ's best cowboys.
While the Classic, and tomorrow's Futurity event, provide a shop window for contractors' stock, riders like Ellis will be looking for an opportunity to get into much-needed competition before lucrative December shows.
Ellis said during his career he had already enjoyed moments of success.
"I rode Red Tricks, a Gary McPhee bull, for 82 points to win in NSW last year," he said.
"I've had a few successes."
While collecting a winners' cheque is always good, Ellis said that just came as a bonus as his main motivation was the fun of riding marauding beasts.
That fun comes with dangers and Ellis has suffered his fair share of injuries.
"In 2006 I punctured a kidney and I've also broken my arm twice," he said.
Not that the cowboy, who has been riding rough stock since the age of seven, has been deterred by these setbacks.
"It's (riding) something I enjoy doing," he said.
One of the local riders Ellis has had an opportunity to meet is Brett Cross, but while Cross competes in a number of rodeo events, the Victorian has no plans to test himself on horses.
"I'll just stick to the bulls for the moment. Perhaps one day I'll give it a go," he said.
For his immediate future Ellis is seeking employment in the mines, but long-term, like most ambitious cowboys, he would like to try his luck overseas.
Twenty top bulls against 18 leading cowboys is a good enough reason to be at the Great Western's Nissan Navara Arena tonight.
Stock contractor Brian Duggan said the bulls would come from as far away as NSW, Charters Towers and Clermont while the list of riders would be headed by Matt Postle and Kerry Mills, who returns to the sport after a few years break.
"He should be one to watch," Duggan said.
Also on tonight's program is a round of Mini Bareback riding.
"Tyler Morgan won last time and he will be defending that title," Duggan said.
Tonight's show starts at 7.30.
The Futurity, also at the Nissan Navara Arena, starts at 3pm tomorrow with 19 bulls, younger than four years old in the Classic, show their capabilities when "ridden" by a mechanical cowboy.
Following the Futurity is a bucking stock sale.