Kyogle set for a wild bull ride
By LINDSAY SAUNDERS
ASK Dave Kennedy what he's thinking about when he's on the back of bucking bull and you'll probably draw a blank.
"Nine out of 10 times, I get off the bull and don't remember anything from when I was in the chute to then," the Kyogle cowboy said.
"I've been doing this for a while, so I know what I have to do.
"I joke with the boys in the chute and try to relax a bit."
It's an approach that's working ? Dave, 22, is leading the National Rodeo Association's Coffee Fix Open Bull Ride series this season after winning at Cabarita and Killarney, and he's won the series twice.
Dave is one of the local riders who'll be competing for NRA points and prizemoney at the Kyogle Bull Ride Spectacular at the town's showground on Saturday night.
Kyogle is Dave's favourite event.
"Because it is the local event you work harder," he said.
"You can tell all your mates about how well you've ridden at other rodeos, but you need to ride well in front of them at the local one or they'll think you're full of it."
Dave began riding when he was 11, making his way through the ranks starting with the poddy ride.
"I got on the back of one at our family farm at Grevillia and reckoned that was fun, so I've kept at it," he said.
His brother, Andrew, 19, also rides and will compete in the novice bull ride at Kyogle.
Another local rider expected to feature is Danial Piggott, who won the open bull ride at Jimna in Queensland earlier this year.
He and Dave travel to events together ? it is not unusual for cowboys and girls to compete at two or three rodeos in one weekend, chasing the points and the prizemoney.
"The rodeo organisers try to arrange events so you can get from one to another in a weekend ? they know we want to ride and they obviously want the riders there to compete," Dave said.
"We can do a lot of kilometres in a weekend ? I've gone down to Condobolin and back in a weekend and that's over 900km from Kyogle."
Dave is also well known on the circuit as a bull fighter ? drawing the bulls away from the rider when he's off the bull. It's obviously not a job for the faint-hearted.
"Changing from bull fighting to riding can be hard. Greg doesn't seem to have a problem with it, but he's been at it longer than me," Dave said.
The Greg in question is Greg Makejev, a former NRA bull fighter of the year, who lives at Bonalbo. He'll be at the Kyogle event too.
The stock will be provided by local contractors Gary Fuller and Allan Morton.