Rodeo ambition realised
After a successful comeback to the sport last year Benalla cowboy Gavin Walker has won the Australian Steer Wrestling Championships.
The win is his second major title for the year, having won the pro tour title for the most prizemoney won in the season that ended on Easter Monday.
The Australian Professional Rodeo Association national finals rodeo was held at Caboolture, Queensland, on May 1 to 4.
Mr Walker said the championship win made his hard work and sacrifice well worth it.
‘‘It’s been really rewarding because I’ve been to the finals — a lot of finals — and I worked on a lot of things this year; a lot on the competing side but a lot on how to mentally prepare for a competition,’’ he said.
‘‘Sometimes if you’re not mentally prepared properly it can let you down.’’
The Benalla steer wrestler began competing in 1994 before taking some time away from the sport about four years ago.
Last year the 37-year-old made a comeback, but was not able to win enough prizemoney in time to qualify for finals.
‘‘I decided this year I’d come in and win it and I came out on top,’’ he said.
‘‘I just love the competition, I love the travelling and it’s just a good adrenaline rush.
‘‘I’ve got a lot of good friends all over Australia now so we get to have a good look around the country while we’re travelling along.’’
Mr Walker spent much of the past 12 months travelling the country to compete in steer wrestling, his preferred rodeo event.
However he found it challenging to balance competition with his full-time construction business.
‘‘I won’t be travelling far this year at all, I’m basically going to pick out the better rodeos that I enjoy doing and I’ll compete at those,’’ he said.
‘‘I haven’t set myself any targets to win any more titles this year, but just to have fun and travel to a few rodeos that we want to go to.’’
Mr Walker now has his sights set on the resurrection of the Benalla Rodeo, which will be held on November 1.
He said Rotary Club of Benalla was involved in the organisation of the event and he was looking forward to the return of rodeos to Benalla.
Champion effort: Gavin Walker won the Australian Steer Wrestling Championships earlier this month. Picture: Supplied