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Local hero has sights set on USA

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Mount Isa might be the rodeo capital of the southern hemisphere, but Donovan Rutherfurd has his heart set on conquering the north in the not-too-distant future.

The Australian champion is in superb form, having ridden time in two of his three rides at the Curry Merry Muster on the weekend and is well placed to pick up a buckle at his hometown event.

Rutherfurd, 23, said a win at Buchanan Park could provide the motivation to book a plane ticket to the United States.

“I’d love to be able to get to America and mix it up with the best of them,” he said.

“The first step is to make a move and go over there and I’d love to have gone this year but I missed the opportunity.

“I’m aiming to go next year, for sure.”

The proud Kalkadoon cowboy is humble and quietly spoken, but loves talking about bull riding. At Malbon Vale Station, just south of Mount Isa on the Duchess Road, Rutherfurd spends his spare time practising on bulls.

“Rodeo is still a hobby but I take it seriously,” the ringer said. “I work during the week and go to the rodeos on the weekends.

“At Malbon Vale we have a few practice bulls, so I round them up and try and find some extra people to help.

“It can take half a day to a day but it’s the only way to improve.”

Often he’s by himself, a practice that would frighten many, but not the former Spinifex State College student.

“I really enjoy getting on bulls when nobody’s watching,” he said.

“There’s definitely a relationship there and a trust in yourself because it’s dangerous. You need a real love for it and love and understanding for the animal.”

One of his favourite bulls is the aptly named Why So Serious.

“He’s very easy to handle and he’s quiet. But as soon as you buck him, he flips a switch and he’s an angry little man,” Rutherfurd said.

“Then he goes back to the yards and you can feed him by hand and pat him.”

Supported by his grandparents Patrick and Yvonne Rutherfurd, the young cowboy loves this time of year. In the lead-up to the Isa Rodeo, he has ridden at Taroom, Richmond and Cloncurry.

But none of those will match the adrenaline rush he feels when the local crowd screams in support of him at Buchanan Park.

“There’s nothing better than riding at your home town rodeo,” he told North West Weekly.

“I’m definitely excited for it and I hope I can put on a good show.”

As for winning, that will depend on a couple of factors.

“I feel like I’m riding well but you need a bit of luck along the way,” he said.

“I don’t know what bulls I have drawn but that will make a big difference. There are a lot of very good bull riders coming so it’ll be a tough year to win.”

North West Weekly 11 August 2022

This article appeared in North West Weekly, 11 August 2022.

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