Kenny kids learn ropes from cradle
WHEN your dad is rodeo legend Shane Kenny there is a good chance you’re going to cut your teeth on the shank of a spur and grow up with a bridle rein in one hand and calf rope in the other.
Meet Ellysa Kenny, 15, and her brothers Jayden, 10 and Tyler 12.
When you are a child in the Kenny clan, rodeo is there from, cradle to grave.
It’s a given. Jeans, hats, boots, ropes, saddles, roping and steer wrestling horses, dogs, hay, long drives and arena dust that smells of dirt, manure and sweat are there in the life from day one.
And there is responsibility, lots of it. There is always responsibility when there are animals involved.
The Kenny children learnt from an early age that no matter the hour of night, no matter how hungry and cold they might be, they have to wash down, feed and water their horses before they even start thinking of themselves.
Shane Kenny started winning major prizes on the Australian Professional Rodeo Association circuit when he was a boy at Pentland, well before he could legally vote.
He wasn’t much more than 15 when the old hands started to realise the hungry kid they’d seen building up his points score at different rodeos was starting to look dangerous. Since then he’s gone on to win 14 Australian All- Round Cowboy Titles.
Ellysa competes in barrel racing, team roping and breakaway roping. Jayden and Tyler are both ropers.
“I was four when I competed in my first rodeo and Jayden was six,” Ellysa said.
They live at Emerald and travel and compete in rodeos every weekend.
When she finishes school Ellysa wants to travel and compete in Canada. Jayden and Tyler don’t hesitate when asked what they want to be when they grow up.
“I want to be a roper,” says Jayden.
“Roper,” says Tyler, a man of few words.
When you have the Kenny genes running in your blood, being a roper is preordained.
TIGHT TURN: Nicola Lillyman competes in the ladies barrel race at the Mount Isa Rodeo on the weekend.