SANCTUARY Point girl Ashlee Fawcett was lying in the dust at Moss Vale Rodeo when a mainstay of the local rodeo circuit told her girls shouldn’t compete.
Ms Fawcett had just won her category with an 88-point ride, but things had gone a little wrong.
After eight seconds on her steer she vaulted clear, but the animal kicked her right side, cracking four ribs and crushing her collarbone.
“I heard something crack in my body and I knew something was wrong,” said Ms Fawcett.
“But it’s like any extreme sport. You have to be prepared to get hurt.”
Due to the risk of spinal injury Ms Fawcett couldn’t be moved, so she lay on her crushed collarbone for 15 minutes before paramedics arrived.
Men and boys huddled around her, sheltering her from the sun.
It was as she lay there that the man made the sexist comments, saying that girls shouldn’t compete because they get hurt.
“Yes I got hurt, but I have seen many boys get hurt off bulls and steers. Why should they single me out and say I shouldn’t be allowed to ride?” said Ms Fawcett.
President of the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft & Rodeo Association Greg Frewin said he didn’t condone the remarks.
“There’s no restriction on girls entering events, and that’s always been the case,” he said.
Ms Fawcett is one of the only girls riding rough stock in the NSW circuit so she competes against boys.
“I love the competition, and I love winning against the boys,” she said.
She’s ridden rough stock for a year, practising in Sydney and travelling across the state to compete.
At first the boys were dismissive but her hard work won respect.
She said, “The boys all stood up for me, saying I won by beating them and that they get hurt too. They were really supportive.”
Her injuries mean that she will miss the South portion of the circuit, disappointing fans who hoped to watch her compete in her home area.
“I’ll be getting back on as soon as I can,” Ms Fawcett said.
“I want other girls to know they can ride if they want to. Life’s too short to let other people make your decisions for you.”