It's been one hell of a ride for AJ Riley since leaving Tamworth for adventures north and the vast expanse of the gulf country.
Now the Farrer alumni is getting set for a somewhat unexpected homecoming.
On Saturday night Riley will be vying for the Xtreme Broncs Australia finals riches, and honours, as the best rough stock riders in the country take centre stage at AELEC.
Being held in conjunction with the Xtreme Bulls series final, the event was originally scheduled for two nights, but will now just be the one.
"We could package it better in one night and felt a bit safer with the community," Xtreme Bulls' chief executive Simon Creswell said.
He added: "The town needs something now they've just had the Country Music Festival pulled out from underneath them".
Riley earned his place in the line-up with a third place finish at the Upper Horton event on New Years Eve, but had no idea he had qualified for the final until the next morning.
"I thought it had all finished and it was just the start of the next season," he said.
"George Hamilton texted me the next morning and said you made the top 12 for the Extreme Broncs finals are you right to go?."
Based in Roma, where is a part-owner and the licensee in charge of the Ray White Rural franchise, Riley is looking forward to competing back in his former home town and in front of family and friends.
"Mum and dad are going to come over (they now live at Coonabarabran) and watch," he said.
"They probably wouldn't have watched me rodeo for five or six years."
More occupied with cricket and rugby growing up, Riley didn't really strap on the chaps until his late teens.
"I started riding steers when I was 17, one of my mates at school he got me into it," the now 27-year old said.
He got into broncs when he moved up to North Queensland after school to work at Canobie Station.
One of the stockman on the station, which is part of the Australian Agricultural Company's (AAco) property empire and spans over a million acres, rode saddle horses.
"I used to ride both (bulls and broncs) for a fair while," Riley said.
But he gave away the bulls when he took on the co-ownership.
"I wouldn't have been on bull for about four years," he said.
"When I bought in I said that would be the end of it."
At the time he had only been working for the business for about three years and was in his early 20s. But it was "too good an opportunity to pass up".
"It's helped me out, I've been able to buy a house with it," Riley said.
He added: "It's very rewarding. When you're working for yourself it makes it a little bit more worthwhile".
He is also heavily involved in the local sporting scene both on and off the field.
He is the captain and president of the local Leprechauns cricket club.
"The Queen's Arms, the pub that sponsor us, they were an Irish pub," Riley explained about how the name came about.
In winter he plays rugby with the Roma Echidnas. Also the club's vice-president he was last season named the best back for first grade.
Last year he also made the foray into league, lacing up the boots for Cities in the Roma and District competition, which they went on to win.
This year he is keen to try and do a few more rodeos and hopefully qualify for the APRA finals.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.