Tom Kerr isn’t letting the current Covid-19 pandemic keep him down, taking some much needed time to get himself in a good physical space before rodeos make a return to the spotlight.
The popular Tumut cowboy suffered a nasty head injury at Tumbarumba’s Blaze of Glory rodeo on February 21, after being kicked in the head by Beersheeba during the Open Saddlebronc competition.
“After Tumbarumba, I fractured my skull, I got bucked off (Beersheeba) and got hung up on it,” Kerr said.
“The horse then kicked me in the back of the head, I was out of competition for a little bit but this Covid-19 pandemic came around and now nobody is riding.”
Courageously, Kerr didn’t go to hospital after his Tumbarumba incident, but instead was assessed after the event and is already back working and riding horses.
“They told me I was going to have six weeks off, but I can tell you that I wasn’t going to give it six weeks,” Kerr laughed.
“Now I’m just riding horses at home and waiting for rodeos to come back.”
Kerr did suggest that the forced time off was a blessing in disguise, giving him a chance to get his body right, but the fearless cowboy won’t be kept away from the sport for too long and said he would be back competing the minute any rodeo got the green light.
“I’ve not really been impacted by rodeos stopping, its probably been the best thing for me, all these little muscle tears and fractured bones are starting to heal up,” Kerr said.
“As soon as we can rodeo, I’ll be hitting the road though, I need to get a few points and have a bit of catching up to do.”
The thing that disappointed Kerr the most though, was the cancellation of popular Queensland events in Mount Isa and Cloncurry, which are generally a staple of Kerr’s yearly rodeo schedule.
“I love going up North, which is right in the middle of winter down here but I don’t think I’ll be going up there this year,” Kerr said.
“It is really disappointing.”
Unfortunately for Kerr and the raft of other local cowboys and cowgirls, the future of Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) events, including the senior and junior national finals that were slated for later this year, are still up in the air due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the current APRA season having commenced in November 2019, states including NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania had completed many rodeos, meaning there was strong competition for overall national honours.
In statements released by the APRA on April 9 and 30, the executive committee would not confirm any future dates for national events but they insisted they would try to hold these major events if at all possible.
“With event restrictions still in place, and no definitive time on when they will change, we will not be making a decision on a course of action for the 2020 season at this point,” the statement read.
“If there is any opportunity for the season to recommence and also run junior and senior national finals rodeo, at any time in the remaining months of 2020, we will work to make this happen.”
The APRA said that national finals and Australian championship events would likely occur despite a shortened season, rewarding those competitors, especially juniors, who have competed on the APRA circuit prior to Covid-19.
“The executive board of directors acknowledged that the season is without the full year of rodeos, which has been beyond anyone’s control,” the statement read.
“Due to the nature of the age restrictions with the junior season, we believe this is the best and fairest option.
“The APRA will work to run a junior national finals rodeo as soon as possible once restrictions on events have lifted.
“We are committed to making this happen to determine the 2020 Junior Australian champions.”