What’s it really like for a bull rider in the chutes?

"You lose your feet, you lose your seat," he said.

It's one of the many mantras for cowboys who attempt to straddle bulls week-in, week-out.

And one used by 21-year-old Matt Pfingst as he demonstrated the surprisingly complicated procedure to ensure your spur-clad boots remain attached during a rough ride - and just how pivotal it is in a rider's chances of staying on a one tonne beast for eight seconds.

Pfingst was one of three professional bull riders who visited several Clarence Valley schools today, giving students an insight into the safety, preparation and exhilaration of the sport ahead of tonight's Grafton PBR event.

Pfingst will ride Go Beau Go, from stock contractor Mitch Russell's pen, currently ranked second in the 2016 PBR Classic Bull standings.

"I've got a pretty good bull tomorrow night," Pfingst said. "He's the type of bull you can win the round on. I've seen him before, there'll be a bunch of points on him so hopefully I get the round win.

"It's a pretty good venue at Grafton, they always come with the goods, weather's always really nice and the crowd gets into it. Hopefully I make it back in the short and make it count in the final."

Rohan Markham, 23, is from Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland.

 

Last year he spent four months on the rodeo circuit in Canada.

"There's a little bit more money up and better consistency of bucking bulls. Australia's following suit now though, a little bit behind but it will definitely get there," Markham said.

"There'll be a good pen of bulls here tomorrow night. PBR always seem to get the best stock which is really good for the bull riders."

This is Markham's second year competing in the PBR but his first time competing in Grafton.

Queensland cowboys Matt Pfingst, Sam O'Connor and Rohan Markham with Grafton High School students Loulou Merritt, 15, and Tom Merritt, 14, who won free family passes to the Rural Weekly PBR Live Series event at Grafton Showground on Saturday night, 7th of May, 2016.Photo Bill North / Daily Examiner
Queensland cowboys Matt Pfingst, Sam O'Connor and Rohan Markham with Grafton High School students Loulou Merritt, 15, and Tom Merritt, 14, who won free family passes to the Rural Weekly PBR Live Series event at Grafton Showground on Saturday night, 7th of May, 2016.Photo Bill North / Daily Examiner Bill North

"PBR for bull riders is like playing in the NRL for rugby league players or the NBL for basketball," Markham explained to the students at Grafton High School.

"However, ours is the only professional sport in Australia you don't get paid to go to and you have to pay your own way. Instead, you get paid according to how well you go."

Sam O'Connor hails from Tully in North Queensland.

The 25-year-old is attempting to qualify for his fifth PBR National Finals, which will be held in Sydney on July 23. He is currently ranked 13th overall in the PBR Australia standings and seventh in the Rural Weekly PBR Live Series Championship, in which Cody Heffernan holds an unassailable lead ahead of this weekend's final round.

 "Cody Heffernan is pretty much untouchable in the series," O'Connor said.

"He's staying on bulls - that's one thing you've got to do. He seems to be beating us all at that at the moment.

"Since New Years Eve I've been hitting my pins and getting a fair few rode. I'm feeling pretty confident.

"I've got a pretty good bull drawn called Blue Dog Time Warrior. I've been on him once before, he bucked me off last time I got matched up against him so hopefully this time I can win the match up."

Between PBR and other rodeo commitments, O'Connor said he has not had a spare weekend in 2016. The last four weeks alone have consisted with competing at Yass in southern NSW one week, Julia Creek in north Queensland the next, Hervey Bay and now Grafton.

Fortunately, O'Connor said the competitors strike up good friendships on the road.

"It's the riders against the bulls, not each other," he said.

"We all egg each other on."

Markham agrees.

"You'll see if the first five bulls get rode tomorrow night, it lifts everyone up, and everyone will have a good night."  

O'Connor moved to stock contractor Rick Ruhland's establishment at Mount Walker two years ago to concentrate on improving his bull riding career.

A former bull rider himself, Ruhland said just like the riders each bull has its own character.

"When the bulls see the truck arrive they run up it," Ruhland said. "They love it. You can feel some bulls quiver in the chute, they feel the atmosphere.

"Some bulls have certain patterns and always buck one way and others buck another.

"One of my bulls is full of himself when he's at home. But once you're in the yard you can push him about - he must get nervous."

Gates open for the PBR Grafton at Grafton Showground at 5pm with the first of the bucking bulls set to rock'n'roll from the chutes at 7pm.

There are still plenty of general admission tickets available. General admission is $35 for adults and $20 for children, or $90 for a family of four (two adults, two children). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.ruralweekly.com.au/ liveseries or the gate.

Reserved ringside and grandstand seating are completely sold out and will not be sold at the gate.



Worlds smallest cucumber wins big at the Grafton Show

Worlds smallest cucumber wins big at the Grafton Show

Produce Pavilion at the Grafton Show a big hit with small cucumbers

Albanese: 'the Coalition should be advancing this project'

Albanese: 'the Coalition should be advancing this project'

EXCLUSIVE: Albanese hopes there's budget funding for Coffs bypass.

Titans junior ready for spooky first grade debut

Titans junior ready for spooky first grade debut

BEN Liyou steps into centres for injury-ravaged Ghosts.

Local Partners