Teen bull rider toughs it out as rodeo entertains

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TEEN bull rider Elijah Leather is a tough kid but even he wasn’t expecting the wild ride he had on Texas Tornado at the Bulls and Barrels Country Fair in Miriam Vale at the weekend.


Elijah’s hand was caught in the straps when he was bucked off, leaving him bouncing by his arm while the crazed animal lurched around.


He escaped without any broken bones, but the disappointment of waiting another year to compete was hard to take, his father said after checking in with him.


Elijah, 14, said bruises were all par for the course.


“You’re gonna get hurt but that’s one of the things you’ve got to accept,” he said.


Local personality Gary Dingle said the rodeo was an important community event with a long history that involved his own family.


“My father had a reputation as the horseman that could never be thrown,” Mr Dingle said, matter-of-factly.


Mr Dingle watched while his daughter Ellysah rode the barrels course in 15 seconds.

“Not bad,” he said, in the typical understated tone used by family members and friends of competitors at the event.


Bulls and Barrels was a family event, enjoyed by families such as the Leathers.


Nikki Leather is a mother of 10, soon to be 11, as she’s expecting again.


She had six children competing in Saturday’s events: Elijah, 14, Macaulie, 13 and Boston, 9 rode bucking bulls while J’Tia, 11, Grier, 10, and Lacey, 7, rode their horses in the barrels races.


Mrs Leather said she wasn’t worried about her children’s safety, and trusted they were doing what they were meant to: enjoy themselves.


Rodeos were something that embraced families, she said.


“It caters for the whole family, and there’s a good culture where the old cowboys nurture the younger ones.”


Miriam Vale girls Natalie Wignell, 15, and Kirra Croome, 15, were having a great time watching the bucking bulls.


“It takes skills to hold on. It’s not easy, I’ve tried it,” said Natalie.


“We come each year. My favourite thing is watching the bull riding,” said Kirra.


Teenagers Tyler Morgan and Wade Mikkelsen have both ridden bulls for years.


“It’s the toughest sport on earth,” said Tyler, who is from Monto.


Tyler said he would rather ride bulls than do his school work any day.


Taught by his father Gary, a cattle musterer, Tyler has been riding since he was three years old.


Originally from Rockhampton, the family now has a property in Monto and a takeaway shop in Rockhampton.


Mother Shelley Morgan said Tyler grew up watching his dad and older brother ride bulls.


Gary Morgan said he rode bucking bulls until the 1980s when “injury and old age” convinced him to let it go.

Bulls and Barrels Country Fair was the first rodeo to raise funds for the development of a multi-use sports facility in Miriam Vale.


“This is very exciting fundraising day for us,” said Owen Harms, from Gary Larson Oval Enhancement Group , which is leading the sports park project.


The group aims to expand the current sports park so it can be used for playing softball, netball and soccer as well as rugby league and touch football.


“We’re trying to develop a sports complex at Miriam Vale to provide a multi-sports arena for the whole region, which will develop sports for decades to come,” said Mr Harms.


“We’re so grateful to Bernie Scott and the Rodeo Association. It’s been an extraordinary community partnership.”



Star Roadhouse Open Bull Ride: No winner

Rookie Bullride: Lawson Nobbs

Junior Bull Ride (17 years and under): Lawson Nobbs

Steer Ride (11 years to under 14): Cooper Hobbs

Poddy Ride (under 11): Jacob Watson

Ladies Barrel Race: Ailee Donaldson at 15.238 seconds

Junior Barrel Race (10 years to 17): Amber Patterson at 14.903 seconds

Peewee Barrel (10 years and under): Kirby Patterson at 145.962 seconds

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