Teen goes up against 800kg bull
AT 16 years of age, Emu Vale cowboy Lachlan Slade isn’t scared to put his 53 kilograms up against a Brahman cross bull weighing up to 800 kilograms.
He even plans to put his helmet away for good when he turns 18.
“The wilder the action in the ring, the better I like it,” Slade said.
But the wild side of Slade doesn’t carry on after his ride.
“I am not a party boy,” he assured.
This afternoon, Slade goes into the Junior National Finals Rodeo in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association as the leader in the junior steer ride.
He won the pro tour title for most money won in the season.
While he wants to win the finals buckle as well as the pro tour title, Slade will even enjoy the chance to ride a second-division bull more than the steer ride.
“I enjoy the bulls more,” Slade said.
“The bulls are stronger than the steers and buck better.”
He acknowledges it is a bit scary to be under a bull.
“It feels like five seconds but is only one or two,” he said.
Until the age of 18, Slade will wear a helmet to ride but rode a novice bull to third place at Doomadgee with a hat rather than a helmet and reckons it felt a lot better.
“You see more without a helmet and don’t have the heavy weight on your head,” he said.
Like many of the tough cowboys before him, Slade isn’t put off by injury.
A month ago, he suffered a bruised lung at Kenilworth and was advised by his doctor to take three weeks off.
Slade started practising a week later and a fortnight after the injury he was second in the novice bull ride and third in the junior steer ride at the Moree Rodeo.
His best career score is 80 was on a bull at Jimboomba and his best rodeo performance was at Darwin in August when he won the novice bull ride and junior steer ride double.
While he is focused on making a career out of rodeo and competing in America, Slade first wants to secure an apprenticeship in steel fabrication or construction.
In the next year or two, he plans to jump on a few bareback bronc horses so as to have a second event in which to strive for excellence.
His mother Vicki McKnight said she was not scared of her son being in one of the toughest sports in the nation.
“He started riding poddies at the age of three, I am not worried about any danger,” the racehorse trainer said.
She is impressed with how the cowboys help each other.
“When Queensland cowboys fly to Victoria for a rodeo, they get a lift with the Victorians to the rodeos and it is the same when the Victorians come north,” she said.
While the young cowboy from Emu Vale has had plenty of tips on his riding skill, he lists contractor Ross Hamilton and cowboy Scott Glasby as two who have helped him on his way to a career as a cowboy.
The first and second rounds of the junior APRA finals are late this afternoon after the end of day four campdrafting action and the third round is tomorrow night.
Action in the junior steer ride, junior barrel race and breakaway roping also starts later today.