Never just clown­ing around

Berry awarded as APRA’s bull­fight­ing cham­pion

Central Telegraph - - SPORT - Vanessa Jar­rett Vanessa.Jar­rett@cap­news.com.au

Play­ing a game of “chicken” has led to the big­gest achieve­ment of Biloela man Dean Berry’s rodeo ca­reer.

Berry, a rodeo clown, was re­cently names as the Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion’s 2018 Aus­tralian Cham­pion Bull­fighter of the Year.

Not based on a points’ sys­tem like the bull rid­ers, bull­fight­ers’ awards are voted by the top 10 bull rid­ers.

Out in the field, the bull­fight­ers work in a group of two and the aim is to “pro­tect the bull rider as much as you can”, Berry said.

To be given this award and be con­sid­ered by his col­leagues was a spe­cial mo­ment, Berry said.

“Con­sid­er­ing I have been do­ing this since I was 16 – and this is the first time I have been given the award – it makes you feel ap­pre­ci­ated,” he said.

The brag­ging rights and the shiny new buckle will push Berry to keep on bull­fight­ing.

“(It’s a) bit of ap­pre­ci­a­tion to keep go­ing on an­other year of on the road,” he said.

This year, Berry has trav­elled all over the na­tion, stand­ing in the rodeo arena, dis­tract­ing bulls from the rid­ers.

He has been to the Ex­treme Bulls event in Syd­ney at the be­gin­ning of the year, then event in Clon­curry, Spring­sure, Cler­mont, St Ge­orge and

❝It’s the adren­a­line rush ... — Dean Berry

many oth­ers in be­tween.

“(I’ve) done a fair bit of trav­el­ling – been to a lot of towns this year,” he said.

The rodeo crowd is a close-knit com­mu­nity and many of Berry’s mates ride bulls as well.

Two of his cousins were awarded top gongs at the Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion fi­nals at the War­wick Rodeo.

Brady Fielder, 18, from Cler­mont, took home the ti­tle of the 2018 Aus­tralian Cham­pion Bull­rider of the year and also the War­wick Rodeo Ag­gre­gate Bull Rider.

Strawb Jones, also from Cler­mont, was awarded the War­wick Rodeo Ag­gre­gate Bare­back Bronc Rider.

“When you’re trav­el­ling, all the peo­ple you travel with be­come your fam­ily as well,” Berry said.

Berry said he be­came a bull­fighter be­cause he was “too use­less” at bull rid­ing when he was younger.

“I chose to get hurt – do it on my own terms,” he said.

De­spite get­ting the odd cracked rib and even a torn knee at the start of the year, Berry is hooked on the life of bull­fight­ing.

“There are a few morn­ings where you can’t roll out of the bed in the morn­ing – feel like you’ve been hit by a truck,” he said.

“It’s the adren­a­line rush ... know­ing you can step in front of a 600-800kg bull and have con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

“The whole at­mos­phere – I love the bulls – I know a lot of the bulls.”

You won’t be see­ing Berry hang­ing up his hat any time soon.

“I will keep do­ing it un­til I am too old and use­less to keep do­ing it,” he said.

“Not un­til the game re­tires me.”

PHOTO: AL­LAN REINIKKA

CHAM­PION: Dean Berry at the Great Western Ho­tel a few years ago.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Berry says it is worth all the cracked ribs in the world.

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