THEY arrived back in Tamworth weary from a 25-hour flight from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but bearing world title saddles and buckles after a brilliant year on the rodeo circuit across Canada and the USA.
Tamworth’s world champion cowboys, Ty Parkinson, 24, and Luke Morgan, 26, were glad to be home after a long flight following their brilliant successes in the International Professional Rodeo Association ranks.
Morgan became the first ever Australian to win the rookie IPRA’s World saddle bronc title. He won the rookie title as well.
Parkinson won three IPRA World Rookie titles, the team roping (heeling), bullriding and all round rookie.
“I had a great time over there,” Parkinson told The Leader.
“I only had three months but I’m going straight back. I’m having a month off and then heading back.”
He’s chasing a major goal in 2016.
“I want to make all six finals in Oklahoma next year,” he said.
Originally from Coonamble, he’s now lived in Tamworth since 2007 and ridden and competed in rodeos since “I could walk”.
He has an infectious smile that lights up when he talks about becoming the first ever cowboy to final in all six events.
“I love it all,” he said without picking a favourite discipline in the rodeo sphere.
“And I get to do it all again,” he smiled, broadly.
Morgan’s rise to rodeo glory came after a distinguished career as a race riding jockey , with many wins as an an apprentice in Tamworth and Adelaide.
At age 26 he had an eventful 2015 culminating in his massive world saddle bronc title.
“It was a great thrill,” he smiled through a fatigued grin.
“I spent eight months over there earlier in the year (2015) and qualified for the finals,” he said.
“I only finished third in the final round at Oklahoma but that was enough to win me the world saddle bronc title. I’d won the rookie before I got to the final.
“It wasn’t all roses though. I had a broken arm and couldn’t compete for six weeks and then fractured two vertebrae. We went hard though. “ I competed in 140 rodeos while I was there and got on close to 200 broncs.
“The body’s pretty sore. I’ll have a couple of months off and decide when I’ll go back.”But I won’t be rushing back, give myself a rest.”