After a near fatal horse accident last month, Rodeo Queen of Australia Bessie Smits has returned to Cloncurry to focus on the upcoming Queen Quest.
Suffering from a grade four liver laceration due to being thrown from her young gelding in February, Ms Smits continues her six weeks bed rest while also planning the Rodeo Queen bootcamp.
Held in Tenterfield in May, the bootcamp will equip all Rodeo Queen entrants of the ins and outs of rodeo royalty.
“Each year the outgoing Rodeo Queen offers tricks of the trade on hair, make up, public speaking, interview skills, rodeo knowledge and horsemanship,” Ms Smits said.
“The bootcamp will consist of hair and make up demonstrations, knowledge on how to conduct a grand entry properly and discussions from guest speakers.
“This information will allow entrants to be prepared heading into judging week in September.”
While making the decision not to ride again due to the risk of her laceration, Ms Smits will no longer conduct grand entries for the National Rodeo Council of Australia or affiliated rodeos.
“Not being able to ride again didn’t hit me until I was out of Townsville Hospital, just because I was so thankful that I was alive and hazy from painkillers.
“When I got home and saw my horse it just hurt, seeing my young gelding there, looking good and ready to compete was really difficult.
“Hopefully down the track I can still work with horses on the ground but at present my liver is too fragile. Thankfully my horse will still be worked by my partner Tyrone.”
Aside from horse riding Ms Smits has another interest she intends on pursuing.
“I have an interest in leather craft. At the moment I am focusing on increasing my skills and completing high quality work to one day start my own business.”
“I would like to specialise in crafting belts, bags, wallets, moccasins, cuffs and eventually tack. At the moment it's just a hobby.”
Ms Smits first Rodeo Queen appearance since her accident will be this Sunday at Curry Day, assisting Cloncurry Rodeo Queen of Australia Entrant, Emma Scott with her fundraising efforts.
Her next rodeo appearance will be her overseas trip representing Australia in the Unites States of America and Canada in July.