Cowgirl rides the rodeo high, no bull

Ellie HoneyboneThe West Australian
Courtney Reinke in action during the 2017 Mullewa Muster.
Camera IconCourtney Reinke in action during the 2017 Mullewa Muster. Credit: Justine Rowe

Jurien Bay schoolgirl Courtney Reinke is one tough cookie.

The 15-year-old spends her weekends sitting astride angry bulls that can weigh up to 400kg and try with all their might to send her flying into the dirt.

In the past few years Courtney has charged her way into the male-dominated sport of bull-riding and has earned a reputation as being one of the most talented junior riders in the country. She climbed into the chute during Saturday’s annual Mullewa Muster and, although it was not her best performance riding in the juvenile steer ride event, she managed to find that sweet adrenaline rush she craves.

“Bull-riding is an addiction,” she said. “It is so much fun and the adrenaline rush you get when you step off a good ride is pretty amazing.”

Courtney’s family live on a 5700ha property near Cervantes where they farm dorper sheep and look after about 50 horses. The student at the WA College of Agriculture in Morawa has also turned her talent for riding bulls into a secondary career, training ordinary saleyard cattle to buck and supplying them to the rodeo circuit.

“Pony club just wasn’t my thing so I decided to try something else,” Courtney said.

“I went to my first rodeo and absolutely loved it.

“I started with barrel racing and steer riding and about a year later I started competing in breakaway roping.

“I am now the first girl to ever compete in the steer ride at national level.”

Courtney Reinke, 15, lives and breathes rodeo.
Camera IconCourtney Reinke, 15, lives and breathes rodeo. Credit: Ellie Honeybone/Midwest Times

Courtney travelled to Tamworth in January after earning her place in the top-15 junior steer riders in Australia and competed in the Junior National Finals Rodeo.

She finished in the top five for the steer-ride event.

“Rodeo has taken me so many places,” Courtney said.

“At the start I think a lot of the boys thought I would fall off a few times and never come back but I kept coming and am now one of the top competitors.”

“I just want to keep riding consistently and represent WA and see where I can take it.”

Courtney said her mum does get a bit nervous when she steps into the arena but she has managed to escape serious injury.

“I always wear a helmet and would never ride without one,” she said. “I’ve got pretty strong bones and my parents raised me right.”

VideoWe take a look at what life is like on a cattle muster with Mount Magnet pastoralist Ashley Dowden.

Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association WA board director Chris Wyhoon believes women have a huge future in rodeo events and Courtney displays the mental toughness required to step into the arena.

“Courtney has only been riding for a couple of years but in 2016 she had an excellent run, taking out the WA title and earning her spot at nationals,” he said.

“She is gutsy and very courageous but what is most notable is that she is extremely humble.

“She continually seeks to improve and is a role model for both young men and women.

“Courtney is also one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet and we are very proud to have her representing the State.”

VideoHannah Simpson has trained her cow Lilac to jump up to one-and-a-half metres.

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