Devastating injuries: Rodeo family helps 'two of their own'
RODEO: A charity bull ride in Rockhampton on the Australia Day weekend will raise money for two injured members of the Great Western Hotel's "rodeo family”.
Gate takings from the January 27 event at the Western will be donated to bull rider Sam O'Connor and bull fighter Simon Batts.
Sam suffered a broken back at the New Year's Eve PBR at the Western, while Simon had a farming accident two days before Christmas in which his spinal cord was severed.
The Western's general manager, Beau Thomas, and owners Colin and Vickie Bowden came up with the idea for the ride, which will become an annual event.
"Sam was injured competing here at the PBR and Simon has been a great supporter of the Western for many years,” Beau said.
"They are part of the Great Western Hotel rodeo family and we wanted to show our support and let people know that when one of our own needs assistance we are there to help.
"We think it is a wonderful initiative and everyone involved in the event is coming on board for free, from the stock contractors to the bull fighters to the judges.”
Sam, 27, from Tully, was clearly moved by the gesture, posting on his Facebook page: "I can't say thank you enough. I really appreciate it.”
Ninety people had raised $8860 in 13 days on a GoFundMe page set up to help Simon with ongoing medical expenses.
His sister Sam Ashurst started the page and posted an update four days ago, saying "the support so far has been truly overwhelming and we can't thank everyone enough”.
Well wishes and messages of support and encouragement also appear on the page, including this one from Jacki Reid.
"Hi Batsy, I can't afford to donate money mate, but I am ready, willing and able to donate help with work needed to be done at home to help you get around. We can assist with ramps, widening things or lowering stuff. Love ya. Jacki.”
Beau is hoping for a huge turnout for the bull ride which will result in significant donations to the two young men, who both remain hospitalised - Sam in Brisbane and Simon in Sydney.
"We really want to get the word out about this event and we're expecting it to be quite big,” he said.
"We will raise money for a designated cause each year and if there is no one in need at that time the money raised will go to sending our young competitors to the World Bull Riding Finals in America.”
The Great Western Annual Charity Bull Ride will start at 7pm on Saturday, January 27. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and $50 for families and available at the gate.