Kundabung cowboy Levi Ward will hope his Australian bull riding form can continue onto the world stage when he heads to the United States for the world rodeo finals in December.
The 14-year-old is now classed as one of the best junior bull riders in Australia, but he has previously experienced competing at international level before.
Once was as an 11-year-old when he finished agonisingly short of a world title in 2019 and the other was when he finished 11th as a 10-year-old.
He accomplished the remarkable feat of second-place in 2019 at the Junior Riding Under-8 to 11 world division.
Understandably, the family have had to make some sacrifices to make it all happen.
"To send him to America the first year, we had to sell a block of land at Clybucca just to get him there," dad Dean said.
"We then realised you can ask for help and people will give it to you. Both the Kempsey and Hastings community paid for him to go last time, but this time there's that much tragedy going on in the world you're not getting much support.
"We've got nothing left to sell."
The former Telegraph Point Public School student currently leads the Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association Steer Riding titles.
He was also successful at a national event in Inverell earlier this month.
"The whole of Australia was invited and he had to ride three bulls and he was the only kid that rode three from three so he won it," Mr Ward said.
His trip to Las Vegas will be one of his final events as a junior before he transitions into the more senior age groups.
"He's still only 14 so we can't wait until December (next year) when he goes up to the under-18s because that'll help him out a lot. He's grown into a big kid," Mr Ward said.
"Next year he'll step up in age division and class which he really needs to do.
"We've got our under-18 bulls here that he practices on and he's used them already so there's no dramas there. It'll be a good thing for him."
Levi will be one of only a handful of Australian entrants to make the trip overseas.
"It's the biggest NFR Rodeo Finals in the world, Vegas, and they take one kid from each age group. There's only [a few] kids from Australia.
"He's the only one in his age group. There's under-11, under-14, under-18 in the bulls and then there's bareback rider and saddle bronc rider."
Mr Ward said the family has some other successful bull riders who travel almost every weekend to domestic competitions.
"I know one thing - I'm tired of travelling, but that's not going to stop anytime soon. It's not only him, his sisters are very competitive as well."
The quietly-spoken teenager was looking forward to testing himself on the world stage.
"I need to go over there and have fun, that's the main thing, don't put pressure on yourself," he said.
"I hope I'm good enough, but it's going to be fun. I can't wait."
It's not cheap to travel to America in December with a GoFundMe account set up to help pay for Levi's accommodation and flights.
Click here to donate.
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