AFTER 32 years Cumnock man Ross McCarthy still remembers his first bull ride like it was yesterday.
In the lead-up to next month’s Orange Rodeo, Mr McCarthy said the memory of his first ride, at just 15 years of age, would never fade, nor the adrenalin it produced.
“I was so scared that my leg was rattling up against the gate,” he said.
“I rode the bull for about three or four seconds and I was as high as a kite and that’s why you keep doing it.”
He has come a long way since his first bull ride, but Mr McCarthy still believes there is nothing like the adrenalin you get from riding a 1000-kilogram bull.
At 47 he will be among the competitors in the Old Time Cowboy Bull Ride, an event especially for riders aged over 40.
“There’s not a lot [of us] left because of the danger and injuries that you get,” he said.
Success as a bull rider comes from staying atop a bucking bull for eight seconds andMr McCarthy hopes for another successful ride at the Orange Rodeo.
He admits there is danger for every cowboy who takes part in a bull ride, but that is part of the attraction, and addiction, for riders.
He has had more operations and injuries than he will admit, but says it is part of the sport.
Mr McCarthy said as he got older he became a smarter rider. The thrill is still there, but it is a different kind of thrill.
“As you get smarter you start thinking of what it really takes to ride an animal of this category,” he said.
“It’s not strength, it’s a mind game.
“An animal like this reacts ... you have to train your mind to react.”
Mr McCarthy said the thrill of a rodeo never fades.
“There is no rehearsal, you have no idea what animal you are going to be on,” he said.
“There’s nothing else like it.”
Event supports John Crasti
TWELVE months on from the bull riding accident that left Forest Reefs man John Crasti a quadriplegic, and Orange Rodeo organiser Al Wilson says there will always be a risk of injury during these types of events.
Mr Crasti sat atop a 680kg bull in the chute about to compete in last year’s Orange Rodeo when it bucked him off and trampled on him.
East Coast Bull and Bronc Championship president Mr Wilson said the sport would always have risks and even if the chute was altered people could still be injured or killed.
“The bull flipped back on him [Mr Crasti] in the chute and, possibly, if you changed the design he could have been killed,” he said.
“Every time you hop on a bull or bronc you know you could be injured or killed.”
Mr Wilson said in his time on the rodeo circuit he had seen five people killed.
“Unfortunately it’s something you see in rodeos where people can be severely injured or killed,” he said.
Bull rider and chute boss Ross McCarthy was at the chute when Mr Crasti was injured last year and said this type of terrible accident was one of the risks of the sport.
“You can’t imagine how many people I’ve seen go down and not get up,” he said.
Despite the number of injuries and deaths of some bull riders, he said for the amount of rides overall there were not that many accidents.
“The dangers don’t change with growth and maturity, it’s part of the sport,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Whenever you have an animal, they have their own mind.”
Help support injured Forest Reefs bull rider John Crasti at the upcoming Orange Rodeo.
Rodeo organiser Al Wilson said they hoped to support Mr Crasti’s recovery with an event named in his honour.
For each entry in the John Crasti Foundation Second Division Bull Ride a $100 donation will be made.
If you are unable to attend the rodeo but would like to donate, an account has been set up at: J Crasti Foundation, account number 100075931, BSB 802129.