A luxury life brings big bucks
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.
So what's life like for a star bull?
"If I ever had to get re-incarnated, I'd love to come back as a bull," Mr Young said.
"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, 99% 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 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.
"That's not the case here no more. It's more of a genetics program.
"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."
Premium ringside Adult: $40; Children (4-16): $20; Family (2 adults 2 children 4-16): $100
General admission Adult: $30; Children: $15; Family: $75.
Tickets are available from The Daily Examiner office or from www.eventopia.co - search for PBR and there is a booking fee.