Kenny kids learn ropes from cra­dle

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN AN­DER­SEN in Mount Isa john. an­der­sen@ news. com. au

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.

Tom Kerr hits the dirt af­ter be­ing tossed in the bull ride.

IN THE GENES: Emer­ald’s Ellysa Kenny, 15, and brother Jay­den, 10, at the Mount Isa Rodeo. Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

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