Work Hard, Play Hard

Host: Lochon Contracting
Written by Tini O’Loughlin – Owner, Lochon Contracting.

It is 5.40pm. We just got back from a long day fixing floodgates and checking the paddocks in preparation for tomorrows muster here at Margaret River Station

I apologise to everyone who has been checking in earlier to read today’s blog. I fell asleep last night when I meant to write it, so all day today I have been spending five minutes here and two minutes there to complete the blog. I had my notepad with me and while the others cooked rib bones in a creek bed for lunch I was sitting under a shady tree writing these lines.

Bikes and pigsWild piglet catching team.

Work is work. Work is hard and work is much when the cattle season kicks off in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. From daylight to dark for seven days a week it’s all GO! GO! GO! But, hey, we all need a break every now and then. And when the opportunity presents itself to have a slack afternoon or even a weekend off, wouldn’t it be nice to just sit back, put your feet up and relax? Well, how about getting up early, saddling the motorbikes and going for a cross country ride looking for pigs? How about grabbing a few handlines, packing the tucker box and heading for a day at the river to catch a barra or two. All for fun but with the thought of eating something other than beef for dinner!

A day at the riverAn  afternoon by the river.

Warrick the hunterWarrick the hunter.

And how about a RODEO?

Everyone on a station seems to be working towards rodeo time. Rodeos are an all-in-one weekend package. Away from work, catching up with mates, meeting the boys and girls from other stations, watching some action and admiring the skills in the arena. Whether you are there as a spectator or a competitor it is just a great few days with a lot of fun. Young Jackaroos and Jillaroos compete as teams in the station challenge, where they double up on a horse and race to their swags to roll it up. They catch and milk a cow. They ride a steer. It’s a group effort and it’s a ton of fun to watch. There is the station buckjump, the bareback ride, the barrel race and the steer roping, the bull ride, the steer wrestling and the saddle bronc. The days are simply action packed.

I, myself have had a few goes at the steer ride. I love it and I feel like I am getting better the more often I do it. I have had my best ride at Halls Creek two years ago, where I rode my eight seconds and even came fifth out of just over 50 riders. Being a novice I have a long way to go yet and a lot to learn.

Halls Creek Rodeo 2011Tini riding her eight seconds!

Locky, however, has been in rodeos for a long time. He started off doing bull rides and bronc rides, but then moved on to steer wrestling and roping. He can call a few buckles his own and has been fairly successful lately, too. In 2011 he won All-round Cowboy at Derby Rodeo, after coming second in the roping and scoring a first place in the steer wrestling.

Furthermore he had been a rodeo clown for 14 years until he decided to retire from it. Not only did he ‘clown’ the bucking bulls when they came out of the shoot with a fearless cowboy glued to their back, he also used to do entertaining tricks and comedy in between. How I wish I had known him then. He is a man full of humor as it is and it would have been such fun to see him entertain a crowd, surfing on snow skis behind a horse and doing other silly tricks. However, I did get to see him putting on that distinctive make-up, the colorful shirt, the tights and baggy shorts. He dusted off his old clowning outfit and wore it once again for a series of Kimberley rodeos in 2011.

It was quite SOMETHING to see NOTHING happeningFitzroy Crossing, where he clowned all day after a long night catching up with a bunch of mates.

Halls Creek Rodeo, where a bull broke his finger… which was ‘nothing’, of course (I must say, it looked rather spectacular as Locky jumped in to take the bull’s attention off the thrown rider, got picked up and slung through the air himself. The rider was safe and since it was “nothing”, I don’t feel too bad about calling it “something”.)

Locky Steer Wrestling at Derby RodeoDerby Rodeo, where he clowned, wrestled, roped, won All-round Cowboy and ended up with two more shiny buckles.

I suppose, I should say that rodeos are like holidays. It takes you a week to get over them. Sore heads and empty wallets, bruises and broken fingers. But if that’s all the cost of a great weekend with friends and fun, then we are all willing to pay that price. Right?!

Sitting back, putting your feet up, relaxing? Maybe next time!


He was born to be a cowboy

Stay tuned

Tini and Locky