BARE-BACKING IT: Stanthorpe rider Lukas Wilkinson prepped and ready to jump in the arena ahead of his bareback ride at the Warwick Rodeo last Friday night.
BARE-BACKING IT: Stanthorpe rider Lukas Wilkinson prepped and ready to jump in the arena ahead of his bareback ride at the Warwick Rodeo last Friday night. Gerard Walsh

Broken, bruised, undeterred

RODEO: Bruised, broken and battered - and Stanthorpe cowboy Lukas Wilkinson wouldn't have it any other way.

Taking part in the Warwick Rodeo over the weekend, Wilkinson had qualified for his first national finals in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association in bareback.

"It was great, the atmosphere was unreal and the crowd and whole event was just unbelievable and a real pleasure to be part of,” he said.

"Bareback is probably the hardest event on your body - physically anyway.

"Feeling a little bit worse for wear after it.

"I ended up getting hung up on the last ride on Saturday night and the horse stood on my face and fractured my eye socket and cracked my ribs.

"It was the APRA bareback horse of the year so I was happy to get her covered.

"Bit of a rematch for us because I got her down in Sydney and she bucked me off in 7.1 seconds and I finally got to ride her for eight seconds in the final this time.”

Wilkinson was one of 15 finalists from across the country who tackled four rounds.

"So you're on one head of stock every night - basically from Wednesday through to Saturday.”

He didn't do as well as he wanted but he got three of his four horses covered.

"It was good, probably one of the best feelings in the world, to be in top 15 in Australia and be able to compete at that level and against people that are the best in the country,” he said.

It has been a busy year for Wilkinson, who has competed at rodeos at Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Mitchell, Springsure, St Brendan's, Yeppoon and Sydney.

He plans to take a little time off to let his body heal before diving in head first next year.

"It'll be my rookie year so I'll be looking at taking home the APRA rookie bareback title.

"I'll probably just travel all over Australia again and if it all works out I'll probably go for the Australian title the year after and hopefully head back over to Canada or the States.”

Wilkinson tried his luck in Canada in 2016 but suffered an injury.

"I'm not going to let that stop me - I'll get back eventually.”

It's not a life for everyone, but he said he'd love to see more from Stanthorpe give it a go.

"Stanthorpe's still home but for probably eight months of the year I'm living out of a suitcase and picking up mustering work.

"It'd be good to see a lot more young people from Stanthorpe get into rodeo and give it a go. It's wild life to lead but I love it.”

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