Sal Malay has a spring in his step of late and no wonder.By Fiona Blick
He has just returned from a triumphant five week rodeo tour in Queensland culminating in being awarded Junior Steer Rider and Second Division All Round Cowboy at the prestigious Mt Isa Rodeo.
As well as these awards Sal received a raft of other prizes including winning the Second Division Bull Ride at the Taroom Rodeo plus second place in the Junior Team Roping, third place in the Second Division Bull Riding, second place in the Junior Breakaway and second place in the Junior Steer Riding at the Cloncurry Rodeo.
Sal, a year 9 student at Yarrawonga College P-12, hails from Marion Downs, WA, a property of 289,000 hectares set in the heart of the Kimberleys and owned by the Australian Wildlife Council, where his father Lindsay Malay works.
With no schools, shops, hospitals or indeed other people for hundreds of kilometres in any direction Sal had a very sheltered early childhood.
Sal now lives with friend of the family and Lake Rowan farmer Andrew McQualter so he can access the excellent education Yarrawonga provides.
Andrew told the Yarrawonga Chronicle last year that Sal was already a star on the rodeo circuit.
“Sal is set to become the first ever Aboriginal Australian Rodeo Champion,” Andrew said. “He has earned himself a reputation on the rodeo circuit as the ‘Kimberley Cowboy’.”
And national success appears to be just around the corner for Sal.
In previous competitions he has been awarded the All Round Cowboy of the Day at the Grong Grong Rodeo and received the Carol Bookluck Memorial Achievement Award for his work in the Southern Cross Rodeo Circuit.
“I would love to be the Australian Champion one day then go over to America and try out the rodeo circuit there,” Sal said.
“I also like training the steers on which direction they have to go when the ride is over and which part of the arena they have to buck in.”
Sal’s next competition will be in New Caledonia and then onto the Junior Australian Finals at the end of the year.
“I have been very lucky with injuries so far, only getting one broken wrist,” he said.
“Basically, if you get thrown you just try and land on your feet then run out of the ring.
“If you don’t get thrown you have to wait until the buzzer goes and then jump off.”
Even though riding in rodeos is Sal’s main priority, he is determined not to let his studies slip.
“I really want to do well in year 11 and 12,” he said.
“I would love to apply for a scholarship to an American College and compete in the rodeo circuit in the USA as well as get an education; that would be fantastic.”
After a tennis career spanning 62 years, of which the last 35 years have been as a coach, Yarrawonga's Jon Coleman is set to retire at the end of 2013.
The recent Kyabram Master Pairs, played over six days with crack sides from near and far, attracted some talented bowlers eager to win the prestige event.
The murder trial of Echuca woman Tracey Kerr has been adjourned until next year.
Three Goornong Fire Brigade firefighters recently completed a CFA course on safety surrounding urban firefighting and using breathing apparatuses.
Kyabram Lawn Tennis Club’s annual junior singles tournament again attracted good numbers from across the district.
But have opponents given up the fight?
Tocumwal Pre-School students are proudly flying their KITE at the Tocumwal Lions Community Hostel.
Tooborac Fire Brigade visited Tooborac Primary School last Tuesday to help the school complete its bushfire emergency management plan.
Residents urged to renew fruit fly baits to support local orchards.
A Korean company has a proposal with the NSW Government to built a $90 million ethanol plant in Deniliquin.
SPC Ardmona, is sending eight containers loaded with $250,000 of fruit and vegetables to cyclone ravaged Philippines.
The hunt is on for a buyer for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota after the business went into receivership last fortnight.
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