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Gene McDonald - NEVER GIVE UP

Hailing from Benella Victoria, is Pick Up legend Gene McDonald. Years ago, Picking up was on the cards. And we’re not talkin' about playing pick up 52! 

For the newbs, a Pick Up rider is an expert on horseback who works at rodeo playing an important role in assisting rodeo riders and increasing the safety of competitors.

It was during his time with Gary McPhee, that Gene started handling young broncs and learnt a bunch about reading bucking horses!

McDonald reckons one of the greatest pick up men of all time (in Australia) is Lindsey Rosetta. Gene is stoked to report of working with Lindsey throughout his Pick Up career.

For just over nine years now, Gene has been picking up, he loves nothing more than being amongst the horses in the thick of the action.

[Gene McDonald - Pick up rider Alexandra Rodeo 2020]

Preparation is very important for picking up, it’s really important for both Gene and his horses. Staying in shape, being fit is the key, it’s really important to him that his horses look and feel great; ‘When they feel great, they’ll work great’.

A family man, he loves spending time with his 3 young sons. This apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, if his smile is any indication, we reckon Slater will be riding along with Dad for many years to come. [Photo above: Grand Entry at Neerim Rodeo 2020]

Gene, together with his wife, they’ve worked with horses for years, breaking in their current team themselves from a very early age. They’ve all got unique and individual quirks they need to work back with. Noting that they each have unique personalities, which gives them both challenges and rewards.

They’re not just pick up horses, they’ve also been trained up for a heap of different disciplines. Roping, Barrel Racing, mustering cattle, overall they are very reliable, versatile and super smart.

Resilient and very athletic, the horses also need to trust their rider. Over time, Gene has earned the trust in his horses and reckons he’s trained ‘em to do almost anything. He is super grateful for the horses in their stables and they play a huge part in the sport they love and the overall picture.

[Gene McDonald - Pickup Rider - Alexandra Rodeo 2020]

Gene has been around rodeos most of his life, since his early teens, the very impressionable youngster may have been instantly hooked from way back then.

In the past, he has tried his hand at other events – riding bareback horses for a long time. Now along with Pick Up, Gene also steer wrestles and team ropes.

[Gene McDonald - Team Roping - Alexandra 2020]

All through those impressionable years, it was hard for Gene not to be inspired by Normanton cowboy and bareback champion Lee Bowker.

To this day, Gene’s fave event is the bareback bronc ride, because of the talent required by the cowboys to ride and he enjoys watching the bucking horses perform.

Gene has all the guts, dedication and determination needed to be in the game and ya know you’re in good hands if Gene is there ready for you to make that pick up during your event.

His proudest moment for this horseman was winning Pick Up Man of the year for the SCRC & his first year as a pick up man at Mt Isa Rodeo in 2012.

Clearly, you have to be strong to be a rodeo cowboy and we reckon Gene is tough as.

All up he reckons he’s been rodeoing around 17 years, that’s a long bloody time to be in the game right? Maybe it has something to do with his fave quote NEVER GIVE UP.


Checkout the RIDER GEE UP collaborative playlist created by the Wrangler Western, Twisted X TEAM RIDERS. It’s time to bung on the tunes and get bloody gee’d up for your next event. Also a top playlist to rack during training.  

Checkout the ripper RODEO REV UP playlist created by the Wrangler Western & Twisted X crew at HQ. It’s time to get in the zone and get bloody rev’d up. A top playlist for anytime you need a pick (me) up.

Image credits: BR Action Photography facebook | instagram

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