Twelve-year-old Lewiston lad, Ethan Michaelis, has been immersed in the world of horses since he was a baby.
His parents and older sister are experienced and well-known competitors in the rodeo world, with mum Candy Michaelis crowned Australian Barrel Racing Champion in 2018.
But it has only been in the last 12 months that Ethan himself has taken to competition and started making his own mark in this tightly competitive sport.
A sport, which it might be said, is largely female dominated.
Last month Ethan won his first barrel racing title, the Australian Barrel Horse Association (ABHA) Division 3 Junior State Title, with less than a year of competition under his belt.
Riding well-seasoned rodeo horse Cooper, Ethan has been working at improving his times around the barrels, hoping to break into the “teens”, which he achieved with a time of 19.8 seconds at an Australian Team Roping Association Jackpot event held at Mount Pleasant on Sunday, February 21.
Ethan is humble about his title win, saying he enjoys the challenge of barrel racing and working hard to improve his time at each event.
“It made me feel good, I’ve been improving on my turns, looking at the drums and how I get to the drums,” he said.
“I like it when I cross the finish line and get to see what time I get as I like improving my time around the pattern.
“I had a goal to get around the barrels in under 20 seconds, and now I’ve done that.”
Ethan also enjoys taking part in team roping and breakaway events.
Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied.
It is a timed rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted rider.
Once the barrier has released, the horse runs out of the box while the roper attempts to throw a lasso around the neck of the calf.
“I really like roping because I like cattle and I like going out of the box really fast and swinging my rope,” Ethan said.
Ethan learnt to rope on a “dummy cow” at home but has been roping real cows for a little while now.
He also takes part in team roping events, which consists of a “header” and a “heeler”, who work separately to capture a cow at its head and heels.
“I really like it because you get to work as a team and you have to try and beat other teams,” Ethan said.
“I like the competition part of it, and working with the cattle.”
Mum, Candy, is understandably proud of Ethan’s achievements and growing skills.
“It’s not a very male dominated sport,” she said.
“I’m proud of him for having a go because it’s not the norm, it’s not an easy thing to convince yourself to do because not many boys do it.”
The Year 7 Two Wells Primary School student is looking at a career in agriculture once he finishes high school and hopes to work on a large property with cattle in some capacity.
Best of luck Ethan, keep chasing your dreams.