CAMERON Milner was 14 when he decided to jump in a truck with Shane Kenny and head on up to the Mount Isa rodeo.
Now 23 years old and on his ninth trip to the Isa rodeo, Cameron has taken out fourth in the rope and tie as well as a win in the team roping with good mate Shane, the one who opened his eyes up and got him "a fair kick-start" in the rodeo circuit.
Cameron, who lives at Garnant, 40km north-west of Rockhampton, breaks in thoroughbreds for a living while helping with his family's business working cattle.
Working in the ag industry works in perfectly with Cameron's rodeo career as he says breaking in horses "sort of gives me a leeway" where he can "work in practice of an afternoon".
"I've spent a lot of time practising, I go to Cameron Bells in Rocky and rope a couple of days a week and every spare weekend we go out and rope with Shane Kenny in Emerald. We do about three hours' driving out there and back," Cameron said.
"Plenty of hard work and time goes into it."
And it seems as if Cameron's hard work has paid off by having a really good competitive year.
The young cowboy is sitting well in the standings with a couple of good wins at Bowen River and Bundaberg under his belt.
"I've had a really good year in general actually ... Leading up to Mount Isa I had a couple of rodeos where I didn't do as good but at Mount Isa everything clicked again for me and Shane does such a good job. He's a multi-time champion and does a really good job setting up and making my job easy," he said.
"Mount Isa has been really good to me over a lot of years. I won second in the calf roping when I was still a junior, I won the second division overall once and there have only been a couple of years when I didn't do any good at all.
"I place pretty consistently at Mount Isa, I always end up walking away with something. We look forward to it every year, Mount Isa is the biggest one we go to, and the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and it's the one everyone wants to go to.
"Everyone wants to win Mount Isa and I guess this year I can say I've done it."
Cameron, who travels the APRA circuit with his partner Jamie-Lee Williams, has clocked up a few miles travelling between pro rodeos.
"In the last three, four years we've done a lot of miles," he said.
"Me and Jamie bought a truck in 2013 and it's got 90,000 Ks on it now and it's mostly a rodeo truck."
When asked why he loved rodeoing, Cameron had trouble narrowing it down to just one thing.
"Well, I guess the competition. There are so many good guys who are out there rodeoing and putting in the hard work and accomplishing goals I guess.
"Getting to achieve your goals as you go along and putting in the hard work and knowing that you've done things right to get it done.
"I've worked the last few years to really step my game up to be competitive with great guys like Brendan Kenny, Liam Davidson - these guys heel so good and make it so I have got to put a lot of work in to keep up with them fellas."
Now Cameron has secured a Mount Isa buckle he will be heading north to compete and prepare for the Warwick rodeo later this year.
"We're going to North Queensland Elite Rodeo in two weeks, then I think we've got St Brendan's after that and then we're mostly getting prepared for Warwick," Cameron said.
"In October we're going to be going down there to go and see if I can get an Australian title along with this Mount Isa one."
Cameron said he couldn't thank his family and sponsorsenough for all of their support throughout the season so far.
"Blue Ribbon Stockfeeds, they've been really good to me. They've been looking after my horses and they're looking unreal just living off the pallets I get from them," he said.
"And I guess I also really want to thank my family and my dad.
"He's been a really big part of me rodeoing and I just want to thank him for what he's done for me, he's helped me out a lot."
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