Ruby buckles up
WINNING a buckle is the ultimate achievement in rodeo, but not many collect their first one before their second birthday, like Ruby Bell has done.
At 19 months of age Ruby collected the coveted buckle when her "pet" was judged the top bull in a Professional Bull Riders, Champion Classic Bucking Bull event at Tamworth.
Not surprisingly the beast is known as Ruby's Pet and as a young bull under the care of Trevor and Tony Dunn is expected to do well for Ruby and the rest of the Bell family.
Proud Dad Cameron is well known around the circuit and with his father Colin they have a number of promising animals, some looked after by the Dunns and others locally by Brian Duggan.
So why is a little girl the owner of a savage beast?
"Colin (grand-dad) bought the bull and gave it her for her first birthday," Cameron said.
While that may sound a very unusual gift, and certainly not one that arrived gift-wrapped, it could turn out to be profitable for the youngster - especially if he is successful on the Open Bullriding circuit.
However, for the time being the youngster is happy to play with her buckle.
"I think she likes playing with it as it is nice and shiny," Cameron said.
On Saturday it won't be Ruby's Pet appearing at the Great Western's Nissan Nivara Arena but the Bell family will be represented by two of their stock, Plant Hire and Ring Your Bell.
Saturday is the opening round of the Bullzye Top Guns series and Duggan is excited about what spectators are going to see during the nine round series plus final.
"There is $40,000 in prizemoney," he said.
"And one competitor from the top four events will win a trip to the States."
The four top events in the Top Guns series are Open Bull Ride, Saddle Bronc, Bareback and Barrel Racing.
Duggan said competitors gain points from each event and these are tallied.
On Saturday there will be 20 cowboys in the Open Bull Ride with many of them in hot form.
Ryan Storey takes a break from his Professional Bull Riding commitments to chase the big money prizes.
Locals Brad Corrie and Brett Cross are always in the mix and should do well.
In the Saddle Bronc, Duggan is expecting a good ride from Springsure's Alan Powell, while a favourite in the Bareback has to be Dave Worsfold who has returned to Australia after four years in the States.
Duggan said Worsfold was successful in North America with a highlight being a second placing in the second division of the Bareback at the Calgary Stampede and a 16th place in the rankings for the year.
Also on show are all the best cowgirls in the Barrel Race, with Jill Lyons out for revenge after being beaten by PJ Symes and Alleisha Priddle at the New Year rodeo.
The action starts on Saturday at 7pm.