Rodeo thrills and spills

Bull rid­ing in Amer­ica was just the be­gin­ning for this Bur­nett ath­lete

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Philippe Coquerand philippe.coquerand@cnbtimes.com.au

SPEC­TA­TORS and com­peti­tors saw the highs and lows of bull­rid­ing at the Mun­dub­bera Show at the week­end.

While 18-year-old Lane Mellers (pic­tured) dom­i­nated the com­pe­ti­tion, three other rid­ers weren’t so lucky, wind­ing up in­jured in hospi­tal:

BULL RID­ING: Lane Mellers is grab­bing the bull by the horns, and hop­ing he can stay on for the ride.

Re­cently com­pet­ing in Amer­ica, the 18-year-old from Mun­dub­bera tours across Queens­land to com­pete in the rodeo.

“I started rid­ing calves at 10 years of age and now I ride Ju­nior, Novice and Open bulls. I ride all the dif­fer­ent bulls now which is good,” Mellers said.

“It’s the adren­a­line rush you get when on a bull that at­tracted me to it, and once you start, it’s hard to get out of it, it’s very ad­dic­tive.”

Mellers said the sport could also be lu­cra­tive.

“The money is also a great bonus as there aren’t many jobs that pay as much for just eight sec­onds of work,” he said.

The aim of bull rid­ing is to stay on the bull for a min­i­mum of eight sec­onds.

It seems an easy task but can be chal­leng­ing, Mellers said.

“It’s just you and the bull and the judges have 100 points to re­ward you, but you’ve got to ride the bull first,” he said.

“To bull ride it takes a lot of men­tal strength and mus­cle mem­ory and co-or­di­na­tion, you’ve al­ways got to work on it, whether it be on prac­tice drums or prac­tice bulls and it’s im­por­tant to stay fit and healthy.

“I ride ev­ery week­end, I don’t get onto too many prac­tice bulls just be­cause I’ll be get­ting onto six a week­end, I just try and keep my body right. Most peo­ple will prac­tice once a week and on week­ends.”

Bull rid­ing car­ries with it some real dan­gers, which Mellers is no stranger to.

“Yeah I’ve bro­ken most of my bones in my right leg, broke wrists and split my chin open, broke my nose and have had a few in­juries,” Mellers said.

“When I broke my arm I was rid­ing with a cast on, I had one week­end off and rode with a cast for the rest of it.

“It’s how we get paid so we have to be com­pet­ing oth­er­wise we just don’t get any­thing, it isn’t an easy choice.”

There is an art to rid­ing a bull and once learnt it makes it a lot eas­ier to ride, Mellers said.

“It’s just your body po­si­tion on the bull, if you get too far be­hind then they’ll get re­ally strong and then they’ll want to pull you on your head,” Mellers said.

“You’ve just got to be in the right po­si­tion at all times.”

Tour­ing Amer­ica was one of the high­lights for the 18-year-old bull rider.

“I did the Youth Bull rid­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Texas, it didn’t go too well as it was above my level, but in July I’ll be head­ing there again and I am a lot more pre­pared,” Mellers said.

“It’s an un­der-20 com­pe­ti­tion for just bull rid­ers, and you just ride the best bulls in the world.

“I do a fair bit with the Na­tional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion and Pro­fes­sional Bull Rid­ing, shows like bikes and bulls which are in­vi­ta­tional things as well.”

Mellers ad­mits bull rid­ing isn’t for ev­ery­one.

“If you don’t have a whole lot of fear and you’re fit and men­tally right to get on a bull I’d def­i­nitely sug­gest it,” he said.

“Once you do it, you will never want to stop.”

PHOTO: PHILIPPE COQUERAND

ON SHOW: For more news and photos from the Mun­dub­bera Show, see pages 7 & 24.

PHOTO: PHILIPPE COQUERAND

WILD RIDE: Lane Mellers, 18, takes out two com­pe­ti­tions dur­ing the rodeo at the Mun­dub­bera Show.

Lane Mellers be­fore com­pet­ing at the rodeo events at the Mun­dub­bera Show.

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