Young farm hand in demand

KENNY Flanagan has rodeoed most of his life, and has no plans of slowing down until he wins an Australian championship.

The 25 year-old spent two years at a college in Texas, USA, where he completed a farm and ranch management degree, with an associates in applied science, while also competing in the rodeo as a student athlete.

Mr Flanagan, who was sent to Texas on a scholarship, said he was very busy while studying and rodeoing.

“We’d go to class from 8am-3pm every day, and then would train for the rodeo every night,” Mr Flanagan said.

“But I have always been good at school work, so that wasn’t too hard, and I love rodeoing, so that was never a chore.”

He returned from the United States in June, and has since been working on a sheep and cropping operation in his hometown of St Arnaud.

Having worked at Banavie Merino stud, Marnoo, for two and a half years before leaving for Texas, Mr Flanagan was a man in demand upon his return.

“The Goodes family from St Arnaud wanted me to work for them before I started at Banavie in late 2013, but I’d already committed to Banavie, so couldn’t take them up on the offer,” he said.

“Then I went to Texas, and a month before I got back they contacted me and offered me a full-time job.”

He said he has more responsibilities at this operation than he has had in the past.

“At Banavie, I was more of a labourer, whereas here I have a lot of my own responsibilities.”

“They pretty much let me run the sheep on my own, making sure they have enough food and water, making sure they get marked on time, organising shearing and vaccinations, and things like that.”

He said this is the first time he’s done a hay season in its entirety.

“At the moment there’s a lot going on, I’ve been doing a lot of boom spray driving, and stacking,” he said.

“We’ll be flat out up until after harvest.”

He said he is eager for the upcoming Victorian rodeo season, which kicks off on 26 December, and goes until Easter.

“I’ll be doing it almost every weekend, I think there’s 26 rodeos that I’ll be going to in that time,” he said.

“A lot of them are in Victoria, some are just over the border in New South Wales or South Australia, and some are in Tasmania.”

He said he also hopes to expand his farming operation at home.

“We’ve got 100 acres here at home, where we’ve just started doing our own hay, and I’ve got some cows here that, as well as some performance quarter horses I compete with,” he said.

“I would like to find some land to lease and put some sheep on, and maybe some cattle too that I can lease out to people who rodeo.”