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'Feisty': Clown's near-death encounter at Calliope rodeo

THINK QUICK: Rodeo clown Will Wilson barely escaped with his life after this photo was taken with bull Voodoo at the Calliope Rodeo.
THINK QUICK: Rodeo clown Will Wilson barely escaped with his life after this photo was taken with bull Voodoo at the Calliope Rodeo.

"STAY as unseen as possible and then make yourself as seen as possible."

Calliope Rodeo Association's Will Wilson could not have summed up the role of a rodeo clown better.

When he was 19, Will faced his first bull at 2000 Calliope Rodeo.

"I was just a young bloke with nothing to lose and a give-everything-a-go attitude," Will said.

"When I got in the ring with the bull I was excited but definitely intimidated.

"I couldn't ride a bull to save my life so I thought I would start on the ground and turns out I was pretty good at it."

Will recalled his scariest moment while he was in the ring with bull Voodoo.

"He had a reputation," he said.

"For a brief moment I was caught off guard and Voodoo charged at me."

Will barely escaped with his life.

"Voodoo was a feisty bull and he got me good," he said.

"He showed me my weaknesses as a bullfighter and I'm still not sure whether it was a good or bad thing.

"It goes to show you can't just throw anyone into the ring. It can be deadly out there.

Mr Wilson said the bull-fighting game had changed significantly in the past 15 years.

"You see bullfighters nowadays and they run the ring like a work of art," he said.

"The environment of the rodeo was a lot more laidback 15 years ago.

"Everyone in the ring has to wear protective vests now and some wear helmets," he said.

"It's kind of crazy when you think about how protected riders and fighters are now compared to how unprotected and vulnerable we were back then.

"The demographic of rodeos is changing, too.

"You see a lot of younger teenagers and kids getting involved as it becomes more of a recognised sport."

Mr Wilson has four children - three boys and one girl - who are all keen to follow in their father's footsteps.

"They think they will be getting in the ring but whether they do or not is a different story," he said.

"We will just have to see what happens. They'll be coming to this weekend's rodeo so hopefully it gets a bit crazy and they change their minds.

"Yes it's a very dangerous sport but I couldn't think of a better way to have spent my youth.

"There's the ups, the adrenalin and fun, and the downs, the injuries.

"But I have had the time of my life at Calliope Rodeo and I hope to spend my remaining years being part of such a great organisation.

"Well, they couldn't kick me out even if they wanted to.

"I have made lifelong friends and memories I'll keep with me forever.

Topics:  bull, calliope rodeo, clown, gladstone, ring, rodeo



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