Kyogle's Dave Kennedy a bull riding champ
Kennedy, of Kyogle, was speaking after winning the bull riding event at the National Rodeo Finals on the Gold Coast at the weekend.
The event was held indoors at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, drawing good crowds and creating an atmosphere that Kennedy described as ‘fantastic’.
“I think that places like (the Gold Coast) is where the sport needs to be,” Kennedy said.
“It drew pretty good crowds; I don’t know what the exact numbers were, but they really got behind it and it was something new for many of them.
“I think that’s what we need to do, take the rodeo to the people in big entertainment centres like that.
“It’s happening more and more with big rodeos now being held in places like Townsville, Newcastle, Melbourne and Sydney.”
Although the 24-year-old is one of the leading exponents of bull riding in Australia, he still can’t make a living out of the rodeo circuit – which is where his country-to-the-city stance comes into play.
“At the moment it is hard to make a pretty good living out of it, so that is why we need events like the Gold Coast, because that brings in the big crowds and the big sponsors,” he said.
Last weekend’s national finals were the culmination of the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) season, with the top 15 male and female competitors vying for titles in several different categories.
Kennedy scored successfully in four out of the five rounds of the bull riding, but was dumped before the mandatory eight-second mark in the fifth round.
“I fell off at about the seven-second mark on the fifth ride, but that’s alright, it’s all part and parcel of the event,” he said.
Amazingly, after 12 years of competition, Kennedy has never broken a bone, which is no mean feat as riding bulls is considered much harder than riding horses and comes with a much greater risk of injury.
“I’ve been pretty lucky– touch wood – I haven’t broken any bones. I’ve had some little stuff (happen) but that is about it,” he said.
While Kennedy still calls Kyogle home, he is away most weekends. And even after winning a national title there is no rest – he’s off to the Sunshine Coast this weekend for his next event.