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Community & Business

13 January, 2022

Young bullriders flock to Biboohra

A GROUP of 28 young rodeo hopefuls gathered at Biboohra in December to learn all they could about the sport of bull riding from local instructor and international PBR competitor, Kurt Shephard.

By Sally Turley

A group of 28 current and future rodeo competitors, along with organisers, and bull fighters gathered at Biboohra on December to teach or learn all they could about the art of bull riding.

The one-day school that was run through the Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) North Queensland zone and held at Simmo's arena, was the newly formed Biboohra Bull Ride Association Inc's inaugural event.

For many years now, ABCRA NQ zone president Kyle Milgate and his committee have been committed to ensuring enough young bull riders were coming through the ranks to prevent shortages in the open section of the competition in years to come. 

Course participants travelled from as far as Weipa, Ingham and Greenvale to join locals in learning bull riding techniques, including getting on their bull correctly in the chute, dismounting their bull in the arena and how to handle a hang up. 

"We do a theory session in the morning, going through rodeo protocol, safety gear like helmets and vests and spend a while on the mechanical bull before tackling the real thing. But what we teach the kids goes way beyond bull riding," Mr Milgate said. 

"We talk a lot about how to behave like professionals in their sport, including sportsmanship, respecting their elders and the animals they work with and keeping their sponsors firmly in mind in relation to how they present themselves and how they behave in public," 

"The school also gives competitors' parents a great insight into the world of rodeo and hopefully puts their mind at rest in relation to the measures taken to keep riders safe. They are encouraged to learn how to help their child onto a bull and help keep them calm and focused in the pressurised chute environment. 

"There would be no junior competitors if we didn't have parents involved to get kids to events and practice sessions and help set them up with all the gear," he said. 

It was all action as the team prepared for a competitor to leave the chute.

No-one understands that better than Detective Senior Constable Kyle Milgate.

The former New South Wales bull rider spent a couple of seasons competing in Canada, before joining the police force and moving to work for the Mareeba CIB. 

He also spent years carting his own son Wyatt around the local rodeos before Wyatt went on to achieve PBR standing and qualify to compete at the PBR Grand Finals in Townsville a few weeks ago. 

Co-host of the school, Robyn Simmonds, said the strong roll up to the school was a good indication of the interest young people had in the sport. 

"Almost half of the group were new to the sport, so it is great if they can get some training and knowledge on their way into arena," she said. 

Heavily involved in the rodeo world, Robyn and Glenn Simmonds have been supplying bucking stock to rodeos from Ingham to Weipa for the past 17 years. They run a team of around 40 bulls, most of which are recruited through the saleyards or from other contractors. 

"Our committee was thrilled with the support we received from the Eureka Creek Races, Campdraft and Rodeo and all the smaller associations like the Laura, Weipa and Mt Carbine Rodeo Associations and the Malanda Bull Ride. Limited by their own locations or facilities, these groups were glad to support this event for the benefit of all involved," Mrs Simmonds said.

"Prior to their incorporation, the Biboohra group have run multiple Training Schools and Practice Days for young competitors from Junior Steer, Calf Riding and Mini bulls through to Novice and Open Bullriding. 

"Proceeds from these days have gone to support local charities such as 'Doin' it for Demi' and 'Slam'n 4 Sam. We will continue to support worthy charities into the future and our next scheduled event is a bull ride to be held at 'Simmo's Arena' on 28 May," Mrs Simmonds said.

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