KATHERINE'S Darcy McBean emerged as king of the cowboys at the third Noonamah Tavern Rodeo of the season last weekend, but not even the good form of the current Australian Professional Rodeo Association's bull rider of the year could bring down the undefeated Guns N Roses in the feature ride.
Despite boasting some excellent riders including Victorian Bryden Atkins and the Territory's own Mark Lamberth, none of the 10 riders managed to stay upright for the first round of the Open Bull. But the 2500 fans who attended the "greatest show on dirt" were treated to a couple of superb rides in the second round. McBean produced an exceptional 78-point ride on board Dr Feelgood to take the spoils from Queensland visitor Matty Bee who pulled 67 points from the judges for his ride on Chelsea Dagger.
That left McBean with the chance to earn an extra $1500 cash if he could manage to go where no-one has ever gone before and ride the full 8 seconds on Guns N Roses.
However, as McBean lamented after the all too common and quick feature ride, "he was just too good".
"He had me straight out of the chute," McBean said.
"He dropped down and then when he came back up it was just too hard to hold on ... he got me down and then threw me straight over the top."
Although he didn't manage to claim the extra cash, the win on the night was a welcome return for McBean after he injured himself earlier this year riding in America.
"At the start of the year in America I had an accident where one of my spurs got caught in my bull rope and the bull stood on the back of my leg and tore ligaments in my knee.
"It didn't need surgery so I came home and have tried to rest it up."
McBean said the injury has meant he has had to adjust his riding style in an attempt to return to peak form.
"I am still trying to figure out how to ride with it. I just need to ride as many bulls as I can so that I can keep improving at the moment and get some consistency back."
That means that McBean intends to get back into some serious training once he gets his arena at home on his family's property in Katherine.
McBean said the training was all aimed at doing the best that he can in the PBR in the medium term so that he can get back to the US and take on the PBR circuit there.
"I just really want to ride in the PBR in America," McBean said. "The experience over there earlier this year was fantastic and I just love it.
"The whole show is another level up and I really want to be part of that."
Class also shone through in other competitions on the night with multiple Australian Junior Champion Katelyn Simpson continuing her stranglehold on the Ladies Barrel Racing series winning in a time of 12.41 seconds to claim her third straight victory of the season.
She was chased hard by Sarah and Fallon Hoare who posted times of 12.69 and 13.02 seconds respectively.
There may have only been a handful of competitors in the Saddle Broncs on the night but, the competition was certainly fierce.
Bradley Warburtey managed to stay on for eight seconds in both rounds, winning the first with a score of 67 points and coming in runner up in the second round with a 61-point ride behind Stephen Goddard who posted a 68-point ride.
Sam Gray, Cecil Luxford and Guy Clarke also featured in the placing across both rounds with strong eight second rides.
Things were a bit tougher for competitors in the novice and junior bull rides.
Eli Bee proved his family's bull riding pedigree when he took out the Junior Bull with an excellent 69-point ride while Alius Mills claimed the "international flavoured" Novice Bull with 63 points.
That "international flavour" was provided by Scotsman Callum Binnie, who flew all the way from Perth, Western Australia, to take on the best bulls in the Territory.
"I am on the second year of my working holiday and after a rodeo in Margaret River I was hooked," Binnie told Rural Weekly in his heavy Scottish accent.
The final Noonamah Tavern Rodeo for the 2017 season will be held on Saturday, September 23.
For details when they come up go to www.facebook.com/NoonamahTavern/.
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