Young cowboy takes zen approach to the art of bullriding
DESPITE leaving school at 15 to return home to help run his parents' Blackwater Brangus Stud 'Tannyfoil', you'd have to go a long way to meet a more intelligent and articulate young cowboy than Lucas McKenzie.
And he's a bloody good bull rider.
In this year's Top Gun series he's sitting around fourth in the Open bull riding.
But in the Rookie series, he has an unassailable lead.
McKenzie has amassed an incredible 410 points. His nearest rival has 140.
With 80 points for a win, McKenzie has had "probably around six to seven wins to get those points."
And to do so, he takes a Zen like approach to the art of bull riding
"I don't worry about who I am up against, I don't think about the other competitors," McKenzie revealed.
"I just concentrate on what I have to do to ride well."
And what goes through his mind in the seconds before the shoot opens, atop of a brutal beast of a bull which wants to do nothing more than dislodge him as quickly as possible?
"Stay calm," comes the response.
"I try to clear my mind, think about what I have to do. I don't think about the bull,
"I don't worry about other competitors.
"If I am calm, I will ride well and everything else just takes care of itself.
"I just focus on the job at hand."
And the job at hand is to win both the Top and Young Guns Rookie bull rider buckles this year.
McKenzie has been so close before he can taste it, so he wants to make this his year.
Last year he finished around third or fourth, he's not sure, in both the Open and Rookie series.
And in the Central Rodeo Cowboys Association he was second in both, after tying for the rookie title the year before.
"My aim is to win both rookie titles this year," McKenzie said.
"It would be good to win both buckles.
"I came up short last year. So it would be great to finally win one outright.
"This year it hasn't been about the prize money.
"It's been about winning the buckle.
"To finally get a rookie title."