Cheyenne is a crossroads city on the high plains of Wyoming that plays annual host to one of the rowdiest events on the professional rodeo circuit. CONVICTS took a trip to the rodeo to find how a few Aussie cowboys were faring in the American West.
Turns out that Jake Finlay, Toby Collins, and Darryl Ethanback are doing pretty well for themselves. The three wranglers talk about riding broncs from Queensland to Cheyenne, the allure of the American bull riding scene, and the swagger that comes with a rodeo belt buckle.
What brought you boys to Cheyenne?
Here to ride broncs.
Just here for the rodeo.
Where’s home for you?
I was born in Gympie, Queensland Australia, I live in Hermiston, Oregon now.
Down in the southeast corner of Australia, in Victoria.
What events are you in?
I’m one of the bull fighters.
I’m a saddle bronc rider.
Did you grow up riding rodeo in Australia?
We were born into it my family we’re all rodeo cowboys on horses a lot in Australia and all, so yeah, just wanted to do it.
Yeah same mum and dad both rodeo’d and i was around it as a a little kid and its kind of what I did.
Can’t say I had too many family rodeo days coming up. Do you remember your first bronc ride?
I do remember by first bronc ride, yeah, at a little place called Upper Horton, in the middle of New South Wales. I got it twisted, but it wasn’t real pretty, I know that. Been hooked ever since.
Yeah I remember the first bull I got on…he ended up bucking me off.
What brought you to the States?
I got recruited for high school finals. I came over on the Australian team and it sorta opened my eyes. A lot more money, better horses, better bulls. You can make a living off it here, you can’t make a living off rodeo back home.
Basically the money. Rodeo is so much bigger in America versus Australia. Home, home is something you’d do over a weekend. Whereas over here, i’m at this rodeo for ten days strait. You can make a living doing rodeo over here.
Did you always know you were going to come here and rodeo?
It was built up pretty big back home to come over here and rodeo so i booked a ticket, came over.
If you rodeo in Australia and you want to go ahead with it-it’s everyone’s goal to get to come to the United States.
How do you like the States?
We get along with the yanks pretty well.
We come over here to their country and they treat us good. I’ve always felt welcome.
Met any girls since you’ve been here?
Aw yeah, they’re around. I will say that. It’s pretty good being Australian over here.
I wouldn’t know anything about that. Tell us about the Cheyenne rodeo.
It’s the daddy of them all, that’s what they call it.
It’s not only the win money, but the saddle and the spurs and the famous, prestigious buckle that comes with winning this rodeo. I think to most guys, the buckle would mean way more than the money.
Yeah, you can’t wear a cheque to the bar. What do you think sets the Aussie character apart?
Heart, I reckon.