Being a rodeo clown no laughing matter after mate's death
DAN Weeden, 26, has been on a mission to protect cowboys from the dangers of the rodeo ever since he saw the worst outcome first-hand when he was a teenager.
"One of my good mates got killed when I was 15 by a juvenile bull at a rodeo, so obviously that was pretty heartbreaking, and since then I just wanted all the cowboys to get home safe to their families," Weeden said.
So he signed on to become a "protection athlete", more commonly known as a bullfighter or rodeo clown.
However, being a rodeo clown is anything but a laughing matter, with plenty of hard yakka needed for the job.
"Just on the weekend at Calliope we did 64 open bulls on Saturday night, and that's not including all the novice bulls, the junior bulls and the junior steers," Weeden said.
"So we're running around all night in the sand, so it's pretty hard on your body."
That's not to mention the injuries sustained on the job.
"I've had a couple of broken ribs, broken sternum, broken neck, I've done a cruciate ligament in the knee, broken ankle and a few other things," Weeden said.
While he admits being an adrenaline junkie, his overwhelming goal is to keep cowboys safe.
"When my mate died, I just couldn't imagine what his family was going through ... so I signed on pretty much immediately."