Rodeo am­bi­tion re­alised

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Monique Freer

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

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