Tom Knight chases rodeo dream

By Gerard Walsh
December 15 2021 - 11:00pm

Manilla rider Tom Knight is hoping to draw the Gill brothers' horse Cowboy Candy at the Ariat Australian Professional Rodeo Association National Finals in Victoria from January 21-29.

He won the first round at the Warwick Rodeo in late October before being thrown from Cowboy Candy in the final.

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"I don't like a horse walking away with a win," Tom said.

"I would love to have another shot at riding Cowboy Candy."

Tom goes into the national finals with a small lead in the standings which have been combined in 2020 and 2021 to come up with a top-15 in each of the APRA championship events.

Money made during the two years will be converted into points at the finals, so Tom has a slight advantage.

He is one of three Knight brothers who have made saddle bronc as their main event.

Sam is the eldest of the trio and has retired from rodeo, but Tom and younger brother Mick are still competing.

Looking ahead to the January 21-29 finals, Tom reckons his toughest opposition will come from brother Mick, Mitchell rider Greg Hamilton and Victorian cowboy Heath Chalmers.

"Greg, Heath and I had a good battle during the 2021 season at the top of the standings. Greg led towards the end of the season before I went round him," Tom said.

"When I started out, Greg helped me a lot in saddle bronc."

During the 2021 pro tour, Tom had his best rodeo at Richmond on the northern run in Queensland.

He won the Xtreme Broncs first round at Richmond, won the final and the average.

Tom won the first round of Australia's richest rodeo at Mt Isa in August, but missed his mark out in the final and didn't record a score.

"I have only missed my mark out five times in my career, the one at Mt Isa was my first for three years," Tom said.

Winning the APRA title early next year would be a dream come true for Tom.

"I have dreamed of winning the pro title since before I was competing," he said.

"I started riding steers at rodeos held in conjunction with campdrafts and then moved to saddle bronc."

At age 26, Tom is confident he has a few good years ahead of him.

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"I have no thoughts of retirement," he said.

Tom is planning to compete in rodeos at Upper Horton, Tumbarumba, Alexandra and Wangaratta in the run up to the finals which are at Chiltern on January 21-22 and Alexandra on January 28-29.

He has placed in the past at Alexandra in Victoria, a town which will host rodeos in early January and then rounds three and four of the national finals on January 28-29

Queensland riders can fine tune their form at rodeos in the Fraser Coast Regional Council area in early January with open rodeos at Hervey Bay on January 1 and Maryborough on January 8.

APRA Program:

December 30: Albury/Wodonga Pro Rodeo at Kinross Woolshed.

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December 31: Upper Horton Xtreme Broncs, NSW.

January 1: Hervey Bay Rodeo, Queensland.

January 1: Tumbarumba Rodeo, NSW.

January 2: Junior rodeo at Hervey Bay.

January 8: Alexandra Rodeo, Victoria.

January 8: Maryborough Rodeo, Queensland.

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January 8: Carrick Bull Ride, Tasmania.

January 9: Junior rodeo at Maryborough.

January 14-15: Xtreme Bulls and Broncs, Tamworth, NSW.

January 21-22: Rounds 1-2 of the Ariat APRA National Finals at Chiltern Racecourse and Recreation Reserve.

January 22: Harveydale Rodeo, Tasmania

January 28-29: Rounds three and four of the Ariat APRA National Finals at Alexandra Dame Paddy Menzies Centre.

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January 29: Wilmington Rodeo, South Australia.

Fore more information from APRA, call (07) 4661 8183.

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