Young buck exceeding expectations in the rodeo
BULL RIDING: Lane Mellers is grabbing the bull by the horns, and hoping he can stay on for the ride.
Recently competing in America, the 18-year-old from Mundubbera tours across Queensland to compete in the rodeo.
"I started riding calves at 10 years of age and now I ride Junior, Novice and Open bulls. I ride all the different bulls now which is good,” Mellers said.
"It's the adrenaline rush you get when on a bull that attracted me to it, and once you start, it's hard to get out of it, it's very addictive.”
Mellers said the sport could also be lucrative.
"The money is also a great bonus as there aren't many jobs that pay as much for just eight seconds of work,” he said.
The aim of bull riding is to stay on the bull for a minimum of eight seconds.
It seems an easy task but can be challenging, Mellers said.
"It's just you and the bull and the judges have 100 points to reward you, but you've got to ride the bull first,” he said.
"To bull ride it takes a lot of mental strength and muscle memory and co-ordination, you've always got to work on it, whether it be on practice drums or practice bulls and it's important to stay fit and healthy.
"I ride every weekend, I don't get onto too many practice bulls just because I'll be getting onto six a weekend, I just try and keep my body right. Most people will practice once a week and on weekends.”
Bull riding carries with it some real dangers, which Mellers is no stranger to.
"Yeah I've broken most of my bones in my right leg, broke wrists and split my chin open, broke my nose and have had a few injuries,” Mellers said.
"When I broke my arm I was riding with a cast on, I had one weekend off and rode with a cast for the rest of it.
"It's how we get paid so we have to be competing otherwise we just don't get anything, it isn't an easy choice.”
There is an art to riding a bull and once learnt it makes it a lot easier to ride, Mellers said.
"It's just your body position on the bull, if you get too far behind then they'll get really strong and then they'll want to pull you on your head,” Mellers said.
"You've just got to be in the right position at all times.”
Touring America was one of the highlights for the 18-year-old bull rider.
"I did the Youth Bull riding competition in Texas, it didn't go too well as it was above my level, but in July I'll be heading there again and I am a lot more prepared,” Mellers said.
"It's an under-20 competition for just bull riders, and you just ride the best bulls in the world.
"I do a fair bit with the National Rodeo Association and Professional Bull Riding, shows like bikes and bulls which are invitational things as well.”
Mellers admits bull riding isn't for everyone.
"If you don't have a whole lot of fear and you're fit and mentally right to get on a bull I'd definitely suggest it,” he said.
"Once you do it, you will never want to stop.”