Rodeo School targets local cowboys with free lessons from the pro’s

A group of Mount Isa cowboys will swap practice rides on friends’ properties for professional tuition at  next month’s first Isa Rodeo School – and local riders keen to join them are being encouraged to enrol as soon as possible.

The school is an initiative of the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Inc (MIRRI), which will provide funding; and the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA), who will run the school and provide the tuition on a voluntary basis.

Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo Manager Ms Natalie Flecker said both organisations were responding to a real need within the local community for a rodeo school. “We are still looking for sponsorship support, but are committed to growing this school into the future,” she said. “If you want to apply to take part in the rodeo school, please contact our office as soon as possible. Don’t leave it and be disappointed.”

Buy a Bale and Mount Isa Care Packages North Queensland representative Todd Vonhoff said he believed there would be strong interest from local young people keen to learn from professionals, plus have a go practicing in Buchanan Park stadium.

“Back in the day, I’d go to Kalkadoon as a kid and there were heaps of riders from here,” said Todd. “I don’t know whether a lot of the station kids have lost interest or don’t have the opportunity, but we want to get them involved so they can do what they love.”

Local bull rider Reece Macmillan, 20, and bull fighter Leaim Shaw, 26, are two locals who say they are keen to enrol in the Isa Rodeo School.

They are among a small group of local riders who have recently started practicing regularly, but say it’s difficult to organise a location where they can jump on contract bulls. They have driven the 600km round trip to Boulia for the chance.

“It’s really hard to find somewhere to practice, because you have to get bulls in and find someone who’s willing to let you practice,” said Reece Macmillan.

The school was definitely a positive for local riders, according to Reece, who will compete in this year’s Isa Rodeo in the 2nd division bull ride. “Everyone has wanted something like this for a long time,” he said. “It will give a lot of inspiration to compete in more rodeos and be better prepared. The more you can practice, the more you learn.”

Bull fighter Leaim Shaw switched to bull fighting after starting on bulls. “The school is a great idea because there’s lots of young fellows in this town, they want to give it a go even if they haven’t tried it before,” he said. “A lot of young people go to little bush rodeo and don’t know anywhere to practice or where to go to learn.”

The inaugural rodeo school will be two days of free tuition in bull and bronc riding plus a bull fighter (protection athlete) course, taught on a voluntary basis by APRA instructors.

Applications are now open for the school which will be held from August 5-6, and places will be limited, according to Ms Flecker. “We are very fortunate to have the outgoing APRA General Manager Steve Hilton volunteering to run the school.”

To apply for the Isa Rodeo School, please email the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo office on admin@isarodeo.com.au or call (07) 4743 2706.

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