You would not believe what this 11-year-old does
BULL RIDING: Wesley McDonald is a typical 11-year-old saving his money to buy his first car.
Except Wesley earns his own money by jumping on the back of a bucking animal many times his weight.
The Federal State School student is an up-and-coming bull rider and his mum Mel, said "Wes” splits his earnings between his wallet and his bank account.
"Like any 11-year-old he likes to buy lollies and things like that,” she said.
"Wesley's won probably about $500 in winnings last year, at 10 years old. He's saving up for his car already. Half of his winnings he puts in his wallet and the other half goes into his bank.”
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Mel said Wes asked to have a ride after going to one of his first rodeos.
"We went to a couple of rodeos and Wesley asked if he could have a go on a poddy calf and I said he could,” Mel said.
"He fell off, he got a face full of sand and cried, but asked to get back on.”
Watching Wesley ride initially gave Mel anxiety but admits she is okay now.
"I felt like vomiting,” she joked.
"I was nervous the first couple of times. I then put him into bull riding school at Tim Kelly's.
"They learn safe techniques, like how to land safely, how to roll and land with their hands and knees instead of just hitting the ground.
"The school was really good for Wesley. He started placing and winning rodeos.”
Wesley then began his journey up the standings in his under-12 national age group.
"He won Woodford a couple of months ago, and won Dayboro, then Gundy (Tiaro),” Mel said.
"He's currently fourth place in the standings under-12s.
"Next year, when he turns 12, he will be too old for poddy calves and he will go to steers.
"He has been training on steers now to prepare himself. He will then go up a grade and have to stay on for 8 seconds instead of the 6 seconds he's on now.”
The Tuchekoi farm boy has been riding for three years and Mel said Wes really loved the adventure.
"He has done well, and he loves it. We get to see lots of places around Queensland. He gets to sleep out in the swag every weekend. We get to see the same friends each tournament.”
Wes looks up to riders like Fraser Babbington, a New Zealander, as well as Silvano Alves, a Brazilian rider who competes in the Professional Bull Riding circuit in the US.
"Wes got to meet him (Alves) at the PBR a few years ago,” Mel said.
Wes won his first buckle at Gundy pub in Tiaro last month. His next stop is Fernvale this weekend and then Gympie on May 20.
Wes lost his father to cancer when he was age three, now, at the tender age of 11, he is planning his pathway to the lofty heights of the professional bull riding circuit to emulate his heroes.
"He wants to go to the states, so we were just looking at some avenues while he's a junior. So we are wondering how we should approach that, whether we should go over now or in a few years,” Mel said.
For now, Wes is happy with the adventure, the thrill and the opportunities the sport affords him.
"He loves making new friends. It's really good for him to have male role models to look up to,” Mel said.
"For him it is not about the money, he doesn't care. For him it's a bonus. It's a bit of an adventure for an 11-year-old. It's about boosting his confidence. Looking forward to the Gympie Rodeo, so his school mates come out and see what he is into.
"For Wes, it is just fun.”