Bandy back in saddle

Winner of the inaugural Battle on the Bidgee, Scott Bandy, had a hair raising start to the poley buckjump in Sunday’s final.

Scott Bandy has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

The well known horseman has ridden the toughest broncs to come out of chutes and although retired from the rodeo scene, he is still maintaining a high profile amongst the increasingly popular challenge events, winning this year’s inaugural Battle on the Bidgee last weekend.

After a horrific rodeo accident during his last scheduled ride at the Tumut Rodeo in 2011, the smiling cowboy has climbed back onboard to compete in the multi-faceted events that test rider and horse and require the top 10 competitors to ride a poley buckjump and catch a brumby.

Upon Terry Hillier’s 15-year-old stallion, Knights Top That, Bandy has tasted varying success at the different events, placing in the top 10 at Murrurundi King of the Ranges earlier in the year before taking out the Bidgee after going into the final day with a handy lead. He produced a clean bronc ride on Sunday, securing the number one spot.

With nothing but praise for the organising committee, Bandy was thrilled to have the home region win under his belt.

“The committee did an unreal job,” Bandy said. “The Battle on the Bidgee was as good as the other challenge events.”

Hoping to win the event and with all the necessary skills and resolve required to do exactly that, Bandy’s cross country run and bareback obstacle course, both of which are his favourite events, put him in solid stead to bring home the trophy saddle and $5000 prize money.

“I had a good lead going into the final but the brumby catch didn’t quite go to plan,” Bandy said. “They were big strong brumbies and ran us right until the end. I had a chance to get him and went to put the halter on him but he turned on me and knocked me and the horse over.”

The large crowd that had gathered to watch the top 10 battle it out in the final day of competition  held their collective breath as Bandy’s bronc reared in the chute as the gate was swung open, reminiscent of the ride that nearly cost the popular local his life at Tumut a bit over a year ago.

For Bandy, though, the risk is all part of the sport and not something he focuses on.

“The bronc reared but it happens pretty quick and you just have to focus on getting it ridden,” Bandy said. “It was a pretty tough bronc, a bit of a handful but I knew I’d be in with a shot if I rode him for the full time. It was good. I nearly had a buster on the cross country course on the bonus jump that was worth 20 points, the horse clipped it but we didn’t go down.”

The evolution of rodeo rider into challenge competitor sits comfortably with Bandy who feels he has done his time as a bronc rider and is enjoying the different type of riding.

“I’m not really missing rodeos,” he said. “I like getting on the bucking horses still but I’m  busy enough campdrafting and with these challenges.”

Bandy will compete in the upcoming Tumut Campdraft that commences on November 30, running for three days.