Bullfighter of the Year Joel Chevalley distracts a bull during Sunday’s Maclean Twilight Rodeo.
Bullfighter of the Year Joel Chevalley distracts a bull during Sunday’s Maclean Twilight Rodeo. Debrah Novak

Joel Chevalley loves being a clown

WHO in their right mind would work as a human ‘red flag’ to a one tonne raging bull intent on inflicting pain on whoever or whatever gets in its way?

Fine Flower rodeo protection clown Joel Chevalley loves nothing better than the adrenalin rush he gets from distracting a snarling bull from a cowboy who has just been bucked off.

“My job is to make sure the cowboy is safe and that I keep the bull away,” Chevalley said.

“I have to get in between the bull and the rider and sometimes I have to take the hit ... that’s my job.”

Chevalley has only been in the ‘bullfighting’ game for two years which came about due to an injury he received as a rider.

“I started off as a rider but got injured, I knew other people who did bullfighting so I thought I’d give it ago,” he said.

Chevalley has certainly warmed to the task as a bullfighter as he was recently voted as the NRA (National Rodeo Association) Bullfighter of the Year, which was announced at Caboolture in November.

Chevalley must have been doing an excellent job of providing the bull with an alternative target as the top 12 cowboys vote on the bullfighting clown of the year.

Chevalley said he has not received too many major injuries apart from a dislocated knee.

“I’ve had plenty of hairy moments and close calls,” he said. “A bull will always out run you so you need to be alert and stay on your toes.”

Like humans, bulls also have different temperaments, and part of a bullfighter’s craft is to get to know how each bull will react in certain situations.

“You get to know them pretty well, which helps out. Every bull is different ... they all have an attitude,” Chevalley said.

Chevalley showcased his skills on Sunday at the annual Maclean Twilight Rodeo much to the delight of the large crowd.

For the record, according to Chevalley, bulls are colour blind and don’t react to red.



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