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LOCAL bull rider Mark Wagenknecht was once advised that he was to not play any contact sport after an illness.

He was treated with a blood disease during his childhood and that was before his teens.

"In was told not to play contact sport like football which I did until I was 13 or 14," labourer Wagenknecht said.

"I had my spleen removed when I was 15 years old and from then I was able to play contact sport again."

The huge boost with this news had a young Wagenknecht return to the footy field, but another challenge loomed.

Thankfully not with his health because he kept himself in great nick.

"When I was 18, a mate of mine was into bull riding and he got me into it," Wagenknecht said.

Now at 23-years-of-age Wagenknecht rides consistently at various rodeos throughout Central Queensland, something he has done in the past four years.

"From the age of four, I had always wanted to be a bull rider and now I am almost doing it every weekend," Wagenknecht said.

"I go to all parts of Central Queensland from Claremont, Brisbane and once I got into it, I just loved it because of the great people I meet."

Wagenknecht said that bulls are intelligent animals and that they have the ability to know if the rider is up for the ride.

"When I first started bull riding, I had adrenalin and was nervous," he explained.

"Now I am more relaxed and the bull can sense how you are feeling.

"Every bull has a certain way and each bull feels where you are sitting...they are very smart animals."

He said fitness is essential and the rider does not necessarily need to be excessively strong and powerful.

"You'd want to have some strength, but it's more about balance and where you position yourself on the seat," Wagenknecht said.

As for his Saturday night, it was not his best ride and he was first to admit it.

"I didn't ride too well and the bull I had was pretty fresh," Wagenknecht said.

"I had a pretty good hold of him, but I lifted my chin and fell off."

But given what this young man has been through, he is surely to buck the trend and get back on the saddle again and again.



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