One family's love of the rodeo life

HE rode some of the wildest bulls, saddle bronc and bareback horses in the country during his 17-year career as a rodeo rider.

But that hasn’t made it any easier for Queanbeyan-born horseman Brett Woodbridge to watch his four children follow in his footsteps. Especially when those footsteps lead to the back of an angry, one-ton bull.

Over the past 10 years, the Woodbridge family name has become increasingly synonymous with rodeos around this part of the world.

Brett’s two eldest children, stepson Ranieri and daughter Kodie were both introduced early to the rodeo game, taking up saddle bronc riding and barrel racing respectively at a young age.

More recently however, his two younger sons Travis, 16 and 14-year-old Casey have taken to bull riding; a decision that was met with some trepidation in the Woodbridge household.

“I never wanted them to ride bulls,” Brett acknowledged. “I’d have always preferred them to ride horses but when they’re set on something you can’t change their minds.

“I watched Trav ride a bull at Queanbeyan Show and even though I used to ride them myself, I never felt so sick in all my life. The nerves and all that, it was worse than when I used to ride to see him get on one.

“But if that’s what they want to do then you’ve got to support them and you’ve got to be there for them. As scary as it is to watch them, I’m proud of them when I see one of them have a good ride and I know they’ve done a good job.”

Since giving up riding himself in the late 90s, Brett and wife Tracey have since turned to the supply side of the rodeo industry.

The couple nowadays provide saddle bronc and bareback horses to roughly 10 rodeos around the state each year out of their 110ha property just outside Bungendore.

And this weekend will see them bring in a full truckload of horses down the Kings Highway for the Queanbeyan Rodeo.

On Saturday, they’ll watch on as a parade of cowboys rides against the clock, hanging on for dear life on the back of one of the Woodbridge’s prized horses, as they go in search of eight seconds of guts and glory.  

And having now spent nearly 30 years on both sides of the chutes, Brett Woodbridge has a better idea than most as to just what those riders will be up against when the gate swings open.

“When you get the older horses especially who know their job, they’ll stand there nice and calm in the chute where they’ve been a million times before,” he said.

“Some of the others you’ll see playing up in the chutes and you know they’re not going to do as much.

“But when the cowboy sits down and you see the horse, calm as you like, just lean on the gate ready to go, you know that horse is going to come out bucking.”

The Queanbeyan Rodeo will be held at the Queanbeyan Showground this Saturday. Gates open at 2pm for a 4pm start. 

The Queanbeyan Rodeo will be held at the Queanbeyan Showground this Saturday. Gates open at 2pm for a 4pm start. 

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