If you happened to find yourself at the Queanbeyan Showground on Saturday you could have been forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into an old Western.
Broad-rimmed cowboy hats, boots with spurs and big silver belt buckles were on trend as the Queanbeyan Rodeo came to town.
Among the stalls selling genuine cowboy gear, the food stalls and carnival rides and games, the central arena was alive with horses and bulls doing their very best to throw some brave humans as far as they could.
While it looks awesome fun, the serious nature of the sport is also on show with some of Australia’s best cowboys and cowgirls on show competing for what is now the country’s richest one day rodeo.
One of those testing his mettle and skills was Chris Borghero, competing in the open bull ride.
Mr Borghero will travel the country competing in anywhere from 40 to 60 rodeos each year, sometimes multiple in one weekend.
It’s only his fifth event since losing his spleen and half his pancreas after being stomped on by a bull.
While he admits the devastating injury does play on his mind, there was no doubt he would return.
“I wouldn’t be doing anything else,” he said.
“It’s like a drug addiction, that’s the best way to describe it, you just can’t get enough.”
He added travelling the country and competing against the same group of people was like having a second family.
While the sport is evidently dangerous it is also a spectacle and something out of the ordinary for Queanbeyan.
Creating an event that can compete with those in Canberra is a big task for rodeo president Mark Mills.
“I think it’s really important to keep a connection and keep focus on our roots in the bush,” Mr Mills said.
“A lot of the things these guys do in the rodeo happen every day in the bush.”
The Queanbeyan Rodeo is in its 18th year being held on the Canberra Day long weekend and is continuing to grow Mr Mills said.
Winners of various categories can expect to walk away with roughly $5000 in prize money – which would have to be one of the better paying eight-second jobs going around.
But as Mr Borghero said, “it’s a long eight seconds!”