Rookie rider stays on top
PROFESSIONAL Bull Riders “Rookie of the Year” Jesse Van Nek is another example of the talent being developed in Central Queensland.
The 18-year-old was riding at the biggest event of his career at the Acer Arena in Sydney at the weekend, and with a crowd of 7000 spectators cheering him on, he proved he is a star of the future.
For a teenager to mix it with some of the legends of the sport is fantastic but to beat them is even more rewarding.
Van Nek did just that in Sydney, finishing second at the event and 10th in the overall standings.
That made Van Nek the top Rookie but he had to do it tough to even qualify.
Firstly he had to wait for his 18th birthday and then he flew to America to try and get the points needed to qualify.
It turned out to be a great decision and a lesson for all the young riders in Central Queensland who want to follow a similar path in the sport.
“He did quite well but he has always been a good rider,” Rockhampton stock contractor Brian Duggan said.
“He won the CRCA Title and that is as tough as you get in this country.
“If you can match it in the CRCA then you can match it anywhere.”
Van Nek rode a few times in the Paul Archer The Young Guns series but Duggan said the youngster was already on the way before that series came into being.
The first notice Van Nek had “arrived” was, as a Junior, riding one of Duggan's “bad beasts” Titanic for a massive 91 points and taking out the Open section.
“Central Queensland is a real nursery for bull riders,” Duggan said.
“I have 11 Juniors at the moment and six of them will soon be Open bull riders and up there with Jesse.”
At Sydney Van Nek was second to Ben Jones, a regular on the American circuit, and on one of his rides in the competition scored 89 points on the 2010 Champion Bull, Lab Rat.