Jacob riding high in world of rodeo
HE MIGHT be younger than the horse he rides, but young Jacob Bell is proving himself in the rodeo ring.
At just 12 years old, Jacob has already been crowned the Australian National Rodeo Association Junior Breakaway Roping champion (11-14 years) twice.
This year he stepped up in age group, to come second in both boys breakaway and ribbon roping events, at the Australian High School Rodeo Association competition in Tamworth.
Along with his 13-year-old horse Baffler, Jacob said he found the unusual sport the perfect excuse to get outside on their 10 acre property at Mt Tarampa.
"I've been doing it for about three and a half years now," Jacob said.
"Mum and dad used to do it and I'm just happy to be outside with my little brother Lachie."
As the year 7 student continues to excel with his roping, his parents Luke and Christine Gall and younger brother Lachlan, have stacked on the kilometres to attend rodeo events across Queensland and Australia.
This month alone, the family have been to Casino in NSW before returning north to Caboolture and then Maryborough.
"I just try and stay awake in the car so I can see everything," Jacob said.
"I love doing it because I've made a lot of friends and we see each other at all the rodeos.
"There's always lots of people there, and I love camping."
Whilst the travel can be exhausting, his mother Christine said it was an opportunity to see more of Australia than most schoolkids get the chance to.
This month Jacob will embark on his biggest adventure yet.
He will join 11 junior and 24 high school students from across Australia, as they travel to Tennessee to take part in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo.
He will only have a few days to practice with a new horse before competing against more than 1000 riders from across America.
Despite the challenge of being without his usual partner in Baffler, the young rodeo rider said he couldn't wait to test himself in a different country.
"I'm both nervous and excited," the Faith Lutheran College student said.
"It will be great to see a new country, and to meet new people.
"Mum went over a couple of years ago but this will be my first time in America."
While being active and enjoying his sports like cricket and rugby league, Jacob has also shown an interest in administration.
At the start of the new season, he was elected as a student delegate on the AHSRA board of directors.
"I'm pretty happy with how the association is run," Jacob said.
"I think maybe we could promote it a bit better though."
The association prides itself on promoting kids to stay in school and get an education.
To compete, junior and high school students must either be studying or be in a traineeships.
As the Australian High School Rodeo Association secretary, Jacob's mother Christine is proud to see her son taking a hand in the organisation.
"The kids want to qualify for the Australian team and if that keeps them in school that will only benefit them," she said.
"Jacob will go onto the high school team until he is 18 which means he will have seven years with the association.
"Hopefully he can get a scholarship with an American school after that if that's what he wants."