Handling bulls that are bred to buck is all in a day’s work for teenager Dakota Brandenburg.

Story By Therese Hall

n the lead-up alleys behind the rodeo chutes, tonnes of pent-up muscle wait to break free. Over three hours, 50 bulls are lined up ready to perform their bucking antics in the Dirt ’n’ Dust Bull Ride at Julia Creek, Qld. While the crowd focuses on the action in the ring, a tiny young woman in a huge hat straddles the rails and calls the shots. She is bull contractor Dakota Brandenburg, who, at 18, is the youngest and only female in the game in Australia. “It’s pretty full-on,” Dakota says. “If you get nervous and jump around a lot they will, too.”
Dakota works alongside her father, Darren Brandenburg, a two-time Australian Bull Riding Champion (1992 and 2001) with 25 years’ experience on the circuit. The eldest of three children, Dakota has been around stock all her life. “She grew up on the land, drafting and mustering stock,” Darren says. “She’s always been pretty keen about getting in and helping.”
The Brandenburgs supply bulls for Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events across the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Based on an 800-hectare property near Clermont, in central Queensland, the family has a herd of 120 elite bulls. The most talented among them, Gotcha Rockin, is one of five bulls contending this year’s PBR Champion Bucking Bull. “He’s got the wow factor about him,” Darren says. “A good bull’s got to have a lot of kick, a lot of spin and a lot of power.”
Dakota has been hauling bulls with her family since she was 13, so she’s not fazed by her unusual career choice. “I like seeing bulls buck,” she says.

This Story is from Issue #96

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2014