Country kid bound for Las Vegas world rodeo championship

Country kid bound for Las Vegas world rodeo championship

A New South Wales country kid has been selected to represent Australia in the Junior World Rodeo Championships.  

Key points:

  • Deakan Keven-Faulkner has been selected to compete in the Junior World Rodeo Championship in Las Vegas
  • Chasing his bull riding dreams wasn’t always easy, with his mum worrying about his safety
  • He says success in the sport relies on good strength, fitness and balance

Kootingal resident Deakan Keven-Faulker, 14, has wanted to ride bulls for as long as he can remember.

“When I was a little boy I used to ride on the back of all my dogs and pigs, and I’d seen a couple bull riders on TV and I wanted to get into it,” Deakan said.

“It’s always been my dream ever since I started and I finally made it.”

Deakan is one of 15 riders who will compete in Las Vegas in December.

His mother, Kristina Keven, said the decision to let him pursue his dream wasn’t an easy one.

“It took me years to give in,” she said.

Deakan is one of 15 riders who were selected to compete in Las Vegas.(Supplied: Kristina Keven-Faulkner)

“I didn’t really want him to chase this sort of dream.

“I knew the risk of bull riders, and what it takes to be such a competitive athlete, and the dangers that are involved.”

She said she saw and knew a lot of injured cowboys.

“But once he started riding on mini bulls he was hooked,” she said. 

“After that, there was no turning back from there and I just had to give in.” 

Despite her reservations, Ms Keven couldn’t be more excited about Deakan’s selection in the US competition.

“I was just so overwhelmed when we found out he was selected, he’s worked hard and has just dreamt of this his whole life,” she said.

Deakan’s father Clayton has helped him train for the championships and supports his dream.(ABC News: Grace O’Dea)

Intense training schedule

Deakan’s father Clayton Faulker has set up a drum for training next to the old clothes line in the backyard of their country home.

With Deakan sitting on the drum, Mr Faulker pulls the handle up and down to imitate the bucking of a bull.

“Training on the drum mimics when a bull comes out of the chute, bucking up and down, it helps him practice to keep his balance, squeezing tight and sitting up straight,” Mr Faulker said.

Deakan’s father has created a training bull from a steel drum to help his son prepare for the championship.(ABC News: Grace O’Dea)

Although Deakan trains four times a week and attends kickboxing classes to keep fit, he said it was not possible to fully control a bull.

“The goal is to try and defeat the bull,” he said.

“It’s all about strength, fitness and balance.”

Deakan hasn’t let the fear of injury keep him from his dream.

“I’ve been jumped on, on the head, a couple of times and all over my body, I got hung up once and the bull came down on top of me,” he said.

“It hurt … it was a bit scary.”

Deakan says the ultimate goal is to defeat the bull.(Supplied: Kristina Keven-Faulkner)

Ms Keven said she felt extremely proud of her son.

“I have no doubt that he will perform at his best,” she said.

“It’s the try and the heart and the determination that he has, that will get him to where he needs to be.”

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