Kirstin and Gabe Wood have been bullfighting for 10 years.
Kirstin and Gabe Wood have been bullfighting for 10 years. Felicity Ripper

Rodeo clowning no joke

TO FACE a bull at a rodeo is a valiant feat, to face 50 is arguably mad but for rodeo clowns Kirstin and Gabe Wood that's no joke.

Also known as the Cowboy Protection Unit, the 28-year-old twins have stepped into the arena as bullfighters almost every weekend for 10 years.

And this weekend they got amongst the action of two, Gayndah Show Rodeo and Eidsvold Charity Drive Rodeo, both part of the Burnett Buckle series.

The twins' interest in the sport ignited from riding bulls throughout their teenage years.

"We started out riding in junior divisions when we were twelve and at about 18 we progressed into bullfighting,” Kirstin said.

"It's a good rush and that's what we seemed to excel at so we stuck to it”

The dynamic duo said bullfighting takes a bit more expertise than riding.

"You couldn't just come from the city and run around a bull expecting it will know or do what you want,” Gabe said.

"You need to have years of cattle sense.”

Kirstin and Gabe Wood have had their fair share of rodeo injuries.
Kirstin and Gabe Wood have had their fair share of rodeo injuries. Felicity Ripper

At Saturday's Gayndah Show Rodeo it took some time for the bullfighters to coax a few of the junior bulls out of the arena.

"A lot of the audience might have been wondering why we took our time walking around them,” Kirstin said.

"But if we had of been trying to rush them they would never leave.”

Gayndah Show Society Vice President Cameron Polzin said the bulls' resistance was due to the fact they are still training.

"We were using a much bigger arena then they are used to as well so they migrated down to end of the arena to get away from the commotion,” he said.

"We weren't able to section off the arena because we had barrel racing straight after.”

Mr Polzin has been around rodeos his whole life and he said you have to be a little mad to step into the arena as a bullfighter.

"That's a part of why people watch a rodeo though, they love the rough and tumble,” he said.

"Someone said to me that the riders must have more Dutch courage then anything to get on the back of a bull,” he said.

"But I think standing in front of one would really take a lot of nerve.”

Both Gabe and Kirstin have gigs outside of their intrepid weekend profession.

Kirstin owns a contract fencing business while Gabe is a contract welder.

But they're always itching for their next rodeo and enjoy the fulfilment that comes from protecting other riders.

"It's just a really good adrenaline rush,” Kirstin said.

Bullfighting hasn't always been action and fun for the twins and they are no strangers to the repercussions of a feisty bull.

In 2015 Gabe broke his neck when he was thrown by a bull at Wondai Show.

It was almost a year before his injuries healed to step back into the arena again.

Kirstin has had a punctured lung and between the boys there have been broken legs, ankles and arms.

Short of breath after the Gayndah rodeo, the twins said their love for the sport outweighs the risks.


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