Fraser Babbington does his stuff. The New Zealand-born bullrider will appear in the rodeo at Byron Bay tonight.
Fraser Babbington does his stuff. The New Zealand-born bullrider will appear in the rodeo at Byron Bay tonight. Darryl Doyle / Double Dee Photos

Kiwi cowboy bursts back

IT was not too long ago that New Zealand-born bullrider Fraser Babbington lay in hospital nursing a broken body thanks to a nasty fall in the sport he holds so dear to his heart.

Babbington, the National Rodeo Association champion for the past two years and from the North Island east coast town of Gisborne, will participate in the NRA bullriding event at the Wildside Rodeo in Byron Bay tonight.

In 2009 the 25-year-old had a horrific fall in a bullriding event in New Zealand, breaking several ribs and suffering internal bleeding of the liver.

But Babbington had more rodeos to ride in and more championships to win, so he saw the setback as only minor.

"I lay there in my hospital bed just wanting to get back out there and compete," he said yesterday.

"Riding bulls is like big- wave surfing at Teahupoo -I love it.

"I got into it when I moved to the Northern Territory as a 17-year-old - my parents own a station up there.

"Dad used to participate in bronc bareback events and I represented New Zealand at 15 in showjumping so it's in the family."

Babbington has hopes of making it to the United States where he wants to ride bulls professionally.

"I won the Professional Rodeo Association meet (the highest level in Australia) in Townsville last year, which is pretty prestigious," he said.

"I've also won PRA meets in Darwin and Moree.

"I need to win more if I want to make it to the US.

"I'd love to win a world championship over there and to back that up again would be great.

"I have a lot of self-belief and you need it in this sport."

The rodeo in Byron Bay tonight may not be a PRA event but Babbington doesn't mind.

"I go in bullrides twice a week on average and fly all around the country so it'll be good just to get some practice," he said.

"I'll have a young bull from Kyogle called Diamonds so that'll be a good challenge."

The program at the Red Devils Rugby League Ground tonight starts at 7.30.

As well as the open event, novice and junior bullrides will be featured.

There will also be an open saddle bronc ride tonight and a women's barrel race.



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