Look, it’s the flying rag doll! |PICTURES

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APPARENTLY when bulls like these are in the paddock, they’re so docile you could pat them.

Just don’t try and give them a loving scratch behind the ears when they’re in the ring.

Nagambie cowboy Shane Austin felt the full force of the power of a bull at the 60th annual Myrtleford Golden Spurs Rodeo yesterday afternoon when he was bucked off like a rag doll.

“That cowboy was in more trouble than the English cricket team,” the announcer boomed on the Myrtleford Showgrounds loudspeakers.

And then there’s the guys crazy enough to put themselves in between bulls and the cowboys.


WHEN you’re the guy that stands between a bull and a cowboy, you don’t want to come up against Black Dog.

Wade Nichele, 21, is from Tarrawingee, he’s been bullfighting since he was 14 years old and Black Dog was the only bull at the Myrtleford Golden Spurs Rodeo that made him shake.

“He wants to eat you,” Mr Nichele said.

To watch these crazed animals is to wonder why on earth anyone would put themselves in their way, let alone try and stay atop of one.

But cowboy or bullfighter, or prized rodeo breeder for that matter, there was a common reverence of the creatures at the 60th Myrtleford rodeo yesterday.

The event staved off a late afternoon bout of rain to have a record-breaking year with 300 competitors — the most it’s ever had — and crowds came flowing into the Myrtleford Showgrounds when the sun shone through.

Myrtleford Lions Club rodeo committee president Rick Rickard watched the action from a stand above the ring and as cowboys were bucked and bounced, he said there’s a lot to be understood about rodeo.

“People don’t realise these livestock are trained for these rodeos.

These bulls, you can go into a paddock and pat them,” Mr Rickard said.

John “Happy” Gill is a legend in rodeo circles — he’s the guy that breeds the bulls with names like Black Dog, Night Stalker and Akubra Insane.

Oh, and there’s War Chief, the bull that no one has been able to ride.

Laughter from the crowd draws attention back to the dusty ring as a bull, his hoof repetitively pawing the dirt, menacingly lines up a rodeo clown.

“That bull’s digging a hole to bury him in it,” came the booming voice of the announcer over the loudspeakers.

“That’s the sort of bull you wanna buy and take home to your mother-in-law.”

Back to Mr Nichele, who was taking a sip from a cold can of soft drink.

He’s preparing to head to the United States to train with the world’s greatest bullfighters in Texas.

Mr Nichele snorted with disgust at Spanish matadors killing a bull.

“They’re very smart. You can’t pull the same trick on them more than three times,” he said.

“I love the bloody things.”

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