Reaching for the top in the US
BULL riding is not just holding on for eight seconds and Mackay teenager Ky Hamilton has it worked out.
At just 17 he has been invited to compete in the US for the second time in his bull riding career.
Hamilton recently returned from four and a half weeks across the pond, practising under the watch of pro bull rider Ryan Dirteater and competing in the Youth Bull Riders World Finals in Texas, where he finished ninth overall.
It was a tight miss for a spot on the podium for Hamilton after missing out on the final round by half a second.
"I rode a bull in the second round and the third round I was half a second off riding my short round bull,” he said.
"If I had another half a second I would have ended up in the top three.''
"The bull was really good and at the end he got me pear shaped I thought I would tough it out until I can hear the whistle but he caught me out.”
Regardless of the miss the trip gave Hamilton invaluable experience for the future.
"The best thing this time was getting to stay with Ryan Dirteater,” he said.
"He knows everything and he has been through it all, so it was good to stay with him and he helped me out a lot with my riding.
"Getting on better bulls and better competition certainly made me step up my game.
"It made me ride better.”
Hamilton was born and bred into the sport. His father and grandfather were saddle bronc riders and his uncle a bull rider.
After seeing a Troy Dunn bull riding school advertised at age eleven Hamilton asked his father if he could go.
Initially he was told he would have to wait until he was older but a year later Hamilton started riding poddy calves and steers.
"Dad always told me 'if you are going to do it you gotta do it properly otherwise you get hurt',” he said.
"I have a personal trainer and I train three times a week with him and every other day I train at home, anything from cardio to weights and doing drills.
"It take a lot of discipline, you got to be dedicated and definitely focused in a sport that can be so dangerous because as soon as you start thinking too much it plays on how you compete.”
He is taking it easy on his next goals as he is facing a knee reconstruction at the end of 2017 which will see him out of the sport for six months.
Once he is 100 percent healed he would be 18 years old he said and was aiming at competing in PBR events in Australia and compete to reach the top level in the US.