Ever since he could sit on Mary the family pig, or jump on their sleeping dog at the age of three, Deakan Keven-Faulkner has wanted to be a rodeo cowboy.
And now the Kootingal local and Oxley High School 14-year-old is one of only 15 hand-selected to represent Australia in Las Vegas at the Junior World Finals in December.
"I've always wanted to achieve this since 2019 when I started," Deakan said.
It took until 2019 before his father Clayton Keven-Faulkner finally gave in and convinced Deakan's mother Kristina to let their then-11-year-old son ride in the rodeo.
His first ride was on a steer at Quirindi that year.
"I had a bit of a bust-up," Deakan said.
"I landed on the fence and got a bruise. But the next day, I went up to Bendemeer and rode a mini bull."
It takes a fearsome and passionate attitude to do what the Kootingal kid does every week.
He grabs whatever moment he can to put in the training; whether that's five minutes before school or in the afternoon straddling the steel drum his father made that replicates the movements of a bucking bull.
And on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, he does fitness work with a personal trainer who gets him doing strength work and speed drills.
Deakan's safety wear includes a helmet with a face and chin guard, safety vest, fringed chaps and a one-handed glove to grip the rope tied to the bull.
In Vegas, he'll be wearing green and gold.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.