WHEN 11-year-old rodeo rider Colby Edgar entered the ring at the annual Mendooran Rodeo on a recent Saturday night, he felt the pressure.
More than 1000 pairs of eyes were on him and he knew it was the moment of truth.
But he wasn’t about to hang onto a steer for eight seconds like usual; he’d set himself a different challenge this time.
Colby was about to lose his trademark blonde hair to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, after turning a bit of playful teasing into a mission.
So far, the keen and accomplished rodeo competitor has raised about $2300, which includes about $900 at the rodeo alone.
“It all started when my mates at a rodeo were all annoying me about it; that I had to get my hair cut, that it was getting really shaggy,” Colby said.
“They were like, ‘I’ll give you 50 bucks if you cut it’, and I thought, ‘Nah, it’s worth more than that’. I thought about it and thought, ‘I could do something with this’.”
He registered with World’s Greatest Shave and the fundraising began.
During Mendooran Rodeo, the announcer brought the main event to a halt, called for a volunteer to do the honours, Colby sat in the ring and it was time for the hair to come off.
“I was nervous, but I just said to myself, ‘It’s for a good cause and it’s to raise money to get people better’, so I was like, ‘Gotta do it now’.”
It was his night in more ways than one, too – Colby competed straight afterwards, winning his section and then donating his prizemoney.
Colby said it was “so weird” to have no hair but worth it: “That night, my head was so cold … It was very unexpected how much we got, but we’re really happy with it.”
Mum Janelle said she was proud but not surprised Colby had taken on the mission.
“He has an amazing heart, and we are often told by teachers at his school that Colby shows great care for his mates and looks out for anyone that might be having a tough time.
“They are very much like their dad. His older sister Lori is exactly the same, and Paul and I are immensely proud of our kids.”
Dad Paul said what had started as “lighthearted” had become “just one of those feelgood moments”. He thanked the anonymous head-shaver and Mendooran Rodeo Committee.
President Lucy Pickering said the committee had been “more than happy” to showcase Colby’s headshave because he and his family were well-known and liked in Mendooran and other rodeo circles.
”We always like to have a charity aspect to our event, too … it was awesome, really good to see.”