Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

A RODEO queen from north- west Queens­land is tak­ing Cal­gary by storm af­ter bounc­ing back from a hor­ror in­jury ear­lier this year.

Bessie Smits, the 2017 Aus­tralian Rodeo Queen, was se­ri­ously in­jured in a horse fall in Fe­bru­ary, re­ceiv­ing a grade- four cut to her liver, which means she will never ride again.

But that hasn’t stopped the 22year- old Clon­curry cow­girl from per­form­ing her du­ties at the Cal­gary Stam­pede.

Ms Smits’ time at the Cal­gary Stam­pede in­cluded square danc­ing, rope mak­ing and tak­ing part in the Cal­gary Stam­pede pa­rade, with or­gan­is­ers ar­rang­ing for a stage coach so she didn’t need to ride.

“Tech­ni­cally I’m still on my six­months re­cov­ery,” Ms Smits said

“I was slightly con­cerned that I would get more fa­tigued than nor­mal, but I am man­ag­ing fine so far.”

Ms Smits said the Cal­gary Stam­pede street pa­rade in front of 275,000 peo­ple had been one of the high­lights.

“The stage coach Miss Rodeo North Carolina and I rode in is an au­then­tic 1873 model,” she said.

“It used to travel to Fort Ben­ton, Fort Cal­gary and Fort Ed­mon­ton.

“Also, it was held up by out­laws in Sharp Hills and even has a bul­let hole in the roof.

“I am also rid­ing in a car­riage for the grand en­try at Fort Worth Stock Show and a stage coach in the Cheyenne Fron­tier Days Pa­rade.”

Ms Smits’s trip will also in­clude rodeo queen du­ties in New York, Fort Worth, Dal­las Texas, Las Ve­gas and Cheyenne, Wy­oming be­fore she re­turns to Aus­tralia later this month.

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