A LOT can happen in eight seconds, as Joshua Lock knows only too well.
The 20-year-old is preparing to compete in the open bull riding section at tomorrow night's Maclean Lawrence Twilight Rodeo.
Lock will climb aboard the bucking bull and attempt to impress judges by controlling the beast. The event promises to be a hair-rising experience, with competitors having less than 10 seconds to show their skills and retain a hold of their animal.
"It can sometimes seem like a lifetime," Lock said.
Wardell-based Lock has been riding bulls for several years after being introduced to the sport by his family.
He recently enjoyed an 18-month stint in Texas, the home of professional rodeo, after earning a scholarship in the USA.
Based in the southern Texas town of Zapata, he combined a welding course with participating in rodeo competitions across the country.
"Australia doesn't really compare to the competitiveness over there," Lock said.
"Over there, every bull is as good as the best ones over here.
"The events are a lot bigger and there's a lot more crowd support than in Australia."
In addition to staying on the beast, contestants are given marks for how they controlled the animal.
Lock bristled at the suggestion that there was little finesse involved in the sport.
"I'd like to see people saying that have a go," he said.
"You do get nervous, but you can use those nerves to your advantage. You just have to stay positive.
"If you worry too much about getting hurt, you will do.
"Usually I'm just chomping at the bit to get out there and have a go."
Contestants from across northern New South Wales and interstate are expected to take part in the annual Maclean Showground event.
Lock is hoping to compete in more pro tournaments over the coming year and aims to compete again overseas in the future.
He said nothing beats the feeling of achieving a successful round during competition.
"It's unreal," he said. "It's definitely better than ending up with your face in the dirt."
The event's main action gets started at 6pm.
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