Getting gored in the ribs or flipped by a bull is all part of a day’s work for Yass bullfighter Matt Darmody.
Just as well he gets paid danger money.
Darmody said he was “born into rodeo” and attended his first at just six-days-old. His dad was a rodeo champion.
He started out riding poddy calves, junior steers and novice bulls before turning his hand at clowning or ‘bullfighting’. At 19 he had a pro card and open approval as a bullfighter.
He worked the pro-finals in his first and second seasons as one of only two bull fighters invited to go to the nationals.
“It’s the holy grail of the event in Australia,” he said.
It’s when the bull rider is thrown off, that clowns and bullfighters come into their own, distracting and teasing the beast away from the fallen rider.
But Darmody disagrees that it would take a certain kind of person to follow this career path. He says it's all about attitude.
“I'm not anything special. It's just about the attitude you take into the arena. That's the only difference between me and the guy standing next to me," he said.
“With attitude, you've got to have a bit of fear and respect for the bull.
“You've got to understand bulls, they are just out there playing cat and mouse, they are not there to kill you... they just want a bit of a play."
But he's still mindful of the dangers.
“You've got to know in your head that you could die in the sport ... you think ‘am I willing to risk my life to save someone else?’
“If you can cope with that mentally, the rest is easy.”
He gets paid about $500 a day to clown, and jokes he could get paid $1500 a day if he was actually funny.
It's taken him to places like Canada, the United States and New Zealand.
With about five more years left in him for this kind of work, he's turned his hand at event organising too, utilising skills he picked up in America.
Matt is involved with the Murrumbateman Stampede Pro Rodeo that is set to take place next Saturday, Februrary 17. Tickets are available from Yass Newsagency and Murrumbateman Rural.