To hell and buck
By TONY WHITE
BRUSHGROVE teenager Nathan Beel has won the Australian Junior Bull Riding championships in Goondiwindi, Queensland.
His winning performance aboard a 500kg bovine powerhouse, was an eight-second drama-charged ride ending in mayhem.
For his troubles the 18-year-old was catapulted over the bulls head and trampled on the face and groin.
"I was ready to jump off and put a bit of steel (spurs) into him and the bull put in a big buck and threw me," Beel said. "It wasn't too bad, just a few bumps and bruises."
Bumps, bruises, smashed bones and broken limbs are all part and parcel of the sport.
"I broke my leg twice in a row, once when I got horned in the chest and thrown into the air and jumped on," he recalled. "I've also broken a collarbone and sternum.
"You get over it."
But the tough-as-teak Beel wouldn't swap it for the world.
"The adrenalin rush is unbelievable. It's something I've wanted to do since I was a young kid," Beel said.
Beel has been competing in bull riding events in NSW and Queensland for 18 months and has gained notoriety through his ability and dedication which sees him travel 1000 or more kilometres every weekend to compete in National Rodeo Association (NRA) events.
"I drive myself. I guess the car gets a bit of a workout. It needs an oil change every couple of weeks."
At Tenterfield in May, Beel finished runner-up in the NSW Junior Bull Riding Championships to gain one of two berths at the national championships.
Riding one handed, competitors are judged on one ride and the quality of the bull is paramount for quality results.
"They take the highest score and luckily I had a good bull and a good ride and won by a big margin," Beel said of his Australian Championship ride.
Beel's step father Barry Freeman was a former saddlebronc rider but he attributes his skills to multiple all round cowboy, Kempsey-based Brad Scott, who taught him how to ride.
Beel currently works as a farm hand and shows cattle for the Brahman Stud near Brooms Head.
His ambitions are to make it back to back Australian Championships and eventually pursue a professional career on the American bull riding circuit.