Yee-haw! Top Guns and Young Guns begin this weekend
GRAB your Akubra and pull on your cowboys boots, it's time for round one of the Top Guns and Young Guns series this weekend.
Rodeo prodigy Lane Mellers is eager to affirm his place at the top and perhaps take home the bull-riding buckle.
"I'm feeling pretty confident," Mellers said.
"I come off two titles last year down south and I've been doing a few PBRs.
"Now I've come back to my roots up here. I did rodeo a lot as a kid and I'm confident to come back now."
His hiatus down south in "Miriam Vale to as low as Kempsey" was a "bit of a change" for the 18-year-old, but now he's back and ready for action.
"I was riding bulls good when I left so I've come back to try and do it again," he said.
"I got on a bull here on Wednesday for practice and I got it rode so I'm pretty happy about that.
"It's the same competition wherever you go. No matter where you go, people ride good and you've got to be the best you can be and I'm always aiming to be my best.
"It means a lot to be back here... I've got a lot of family and friends around here and the bulls are good so as long as I ride good it's going to be a good night."
Mellers will be opening the rookie bull ride this weekend.
"I just want to be the most consistent and ride the most bulls, so whether I win or not is not a priority to me," he said.
"I've been riding for eight years now... It's just about riding my bulls and having fun while doing it."
Local cowboy Timothy Smith will be saddling up to be the arena director on Saturday night and is keen to see a few of the regular juniors and a few "young starters coming through and having a go".
"We've got a few girls and a few new starters in the barrels and the pee wees in the juniors and rookies and some old girls coming back to try and win the title again," he said.
"We've got some handy bulls... they'll have a bit to hang on to this weekend.
"The nominations are real good for this weekend... 60-70 each night. It's looking pretty good at the moment."
Smith said Caydence Fouracre will be competing against the boys in the steer ride this year.
"Lane Mellers is a pretty handy young kid," Smith said.
"He's got other priorities too but if he hangs around here, he's got a good chance to take the title.
"It'll be a challenge for the other fellas to catch him and keep on top of him."
Smith said Jackson Grey will also be one to watch.
"Jackson won third in the finals last year and took the title out," Smith said.
"It's just what the boys can do throughout the year.
"If they get that far ahead, the other boys have got to step up and man up and ride a bit harder to catch the leader.
"Hopefully it'll be a tighter competition this year and a bit more exciting."