Peterborough teenager Alex Young spent his Easter long weekend competing in rodeos across New South Wales and Victoria, and he didn’t come home empty-handed.
He placed second in the pony bareback at Deniliquin and Tocumwal, and placed third at Lang Lang for the same event.
The youngest member of the Peterborough Rodeo Committee, he began his career as a cowboy several years ago at the Peterborough Rodeo, where he placed first in the junior barrel race.
Since that first event he has regularly competed in rodeos around the state, including this year’s Clare Rodeo, in which he won first place for the junior bareback.
This Easter trip was his first time travelling interstate for a rodeo, and he faced some difficulties on arrival, including riding on a horse that wasn’t his own.
“I only had three days to practice with a horse I hadn’t used before,” said Alex, who was nervous about competing in some of the events, particularly the barrel race.
“I hadn’t done barrel racing for years.”
Once he got back in the saddle though, those nerves disappeared.
Alex also competed in the steer riding events, grabbing the bull by the horns.
He sustained minor injuries to his arm and shoulder at the Lang Lang rodeo after being bucked off and kicked by a steer.
“I was just looking for a way out,” he said.
“I was dizzy, and everything was bright.”
Even after this close call, he doesn’t let fear or danger deter him from steer and bareback riding.
“You just cowboy up and get over it.”
You just cowboy up and get over it.
Alex was taught to ride at home, though he sometimes struggles to find a balance between rodeo and his other commitments, like high school and work.
“I try to get as much riding done as I can, but I’m not really doing it as much as I want to be,” he said.
Living next door to veteran cowboy and Rodeo Committee member Tom Bruce, Alex had plenty of help learning the ropes.
This Easter trip is just the beginning for Alex, who is chomping at the bit for a chance to further his rodeo career.
He has plans to return to the same rodeos next year, and hopes to one day compete in the United States of America, where the rodeo scene is much more prominent.
If his performance this year is anything to go by, he may be well on his way to achieving this goal.