Former Biggest Loser competitor and rodeo rookie Joe Medway (above) was competing at the Widgee Bushman’s Carnival yesterday with rodeo veteran Ian Allen (left).
Former Biggest Loser competitor and rodeo rookie Joe Medway (above) was competing at the Widgee Bushman’s Carnival yesterday with rodeo veteran Ian Allen (left). Renee Pilcher

Wild riding for weight loss

THERE were thrills, spills and even dreams realised at the Widgee Bushman’s Carnival this year.

Twelve months since shedding a massive 83 kilos as a Biggest Loser TV show contestant, Joe Medway was relishing life in the saddle at yesterday’s rodeo.

Riding a mate’s horse, Joe was fulfilling his rodeo dream and competing in the steer wrestling for the first time.

Wanting to get back in the saddle was one of the reasons he entered the Biggest Loser competition.

“I wanted to get my health back and I wanted to rodeo and do all the things I wanted to do as a kid (that) I couldn’t,” he said.

Four years of steer wrestling practice was mostly done on the ground, not on a horse, due to the weight he carried.

“They would have called the RSPCA if I’d got on a horse weighing what I did then.”

Looking fit and fine in his cowboy kit, Joe missed out on a place in the steer wrestling but it was obvious being part of the rodeo scene was a big kick for the 22-year-old from Caboolture.

“It’s like a big family here. Everyone’s good mates – if you have a good run they cheer you on. And I’ve always wanted to win one of those big shiny buckles,” he said with a grin.

The Widgee Bushman’s Carnival has been a highlight for rodeo competitors for decades and rookies like Joe breathe in the dust and atmosphere alongside veterans like Tuchekoi’s Ian Allen.

At 57, Ian was the oldest entrant yesterday and one with the most experience tucked under his belt when it comes to steer wrestling.

He wrestled his first steer at Kenilworth when he was around 16 years old and wasn’t adverse to jumping on bulls or broncs either in his younger years.

He was awarded one of those ‘big shiny buckles’ when he won the NRA steer wrestling title in 1986.

While many of his cohort may be content to watch from the sidelines these days, Ian says he wants to keep riding.

“I still think I’m competitive. I got some money about three weekends ago. Anyway, if I stop at home I’ll only do work,” he said. “And it’s a social day out.”

Rodeo coordinator Barry Dyer said nominations had been good with close to record numbers attending.

“One of the things that works for us is we’ve been established on the rodeo circuit for a long time and everyone involved in the sport knows when Widgee is on,” Barry said.

“And we try very hard to do it a little better each year.”