BITE THE DUST: Chris Jennings trying to conquer bucking bull 'Suicidal', who has never been ridden. Photo Diane Essery
BITE THE DUST: Chris Jennings trying to conquer bucking bull 'Suicidal', who has never been ridden. Photo Diane Essery Contributed

Muscly males are the stars of this bucking show

THEY'RE big, strong young males, fast and agile, all muscle and movement.

They are recognised internationally as supreme athletes. Some of them have never been beaten.

Some have their own nutritionists. And they get to eat the best hay you can buy.

Forget the cowboys: the bucking bulls are the stars of professional bull riding.

"They're the ones people love to come and see," says Glen Young, general manager at Professional Bull Riding Australia.

"There's a bull that's touring that's never been ridden, called Gotcha Rockin'. He's a Banteng which is an Indonesian-bred bull.

"He's thrown off the best of them. No one's even come close to getting him ridden.

"There's another one of the Banteng bulls called Suicidal, from down around Ipswich way. He's been on tour for three years now and he's been unridden.

"He'll throw a rider off then he'll do a victory lap around the arena and run out and go back to his mate in the back pen, nice and calm."

Sam O'Connor tries to ride bull Suicidal on the Professional Bull Riders Australia Tour.
Sam O'Connor tries to ride bull Suicidal on the Professional Bull Riders Australia Tour. Contributed

"If I ever had to get reincarnated, I'd love to come back as a bull," says Glen. "They'll do 8 to 10 shows a year. If they go unridden they probably work less than 10 seconds.

"They're on feed that's specifically formulated to keep them in great condition and healthy. And at the end of the day they get a herd of cows to breed to because the genetics is so important.

"They don't ever have to worry about going to a meatworks and getting their head cut off. Ninety-nine percent will die under their favourite tree of old age.

"We adopt the international animal welfare code. We don't allow electric prods at events. We don't use bulls that are stressed or likely to cause injury to themselves.

"These bulls are raised from birth on a bucket. They're around people all the time. When they come to our event they've got their own handler in the paddocks.

"Bulls are 50% of our sport. Without them we don't have it. It's really important for us to make sure they're looked after and suitable to our competition.

"(Bull breeder) Trevor Dunn in Rockhampton has a nutritionist who comes and designs the feeding program for each individual bull.

"There's no other cattle in the world that get looked after like that. They're sort of treated like royalty.

"Years ago - I'm talkin' 10-15 years ago - people just used to go to a saleyard and buy a bull and then test it to see if it bucked.

Gotcha Rockin', an unbeaten Banteng bull
Gotcha Rockin', an unbeaten Banteng bull

"The bulls that you're seeing on this APN tour, their mothers were the daughters of a great buckin' bull, their fathers were a great buckin' bull who may have been the great-grandson of another great buckin' bull.

 "We've got these young riders on tour whose fathers were bull riders, and their fathers were actually getting on these bulls' parents many years ago."

Australian Regional Media, publisher of Rural Weekly and Gatton Star, has teamed up with PBR Australia to deliver an adrenalin-filled series of bull riding events around the regions, including Ipswich on October 25.

Top bull riders will be chasing valuable competition points plus an ARM prize bonus of $20,000.


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