Riley Schmidt almost didn't compete.
A lingering injury and seeing his mates fall around him starved the 10-year-old of confidence.
But after a few choice words from a mate, the Townsville product donned his helmet, jumped on a bucking calf and tightened his grip.
Six seconds later, he would be celebrating unashamedly in front of a few thousand cheering spectators.
"I was just talking to myself, keeping my body relaxed, keeping myself calm and just focusing on what I had to do," Riley told AAP.
"My mate said to me, 'you can do it. Just think about what you've done'."
Riley took out the poddy calf ride at the Mount Isa Rodeo on Saturday in a canter after being one of the few competitors to hold on.
Conquering the nerves at Australia's biggest and richest rodeo was key to victory.
"My adrenaline was going," he said.
"It felt really cool. I've never been to such a big rodeo."
It's mum Christine Schmidt's job to keep a lid on things, reminding the youngster of a school assignment needing to be done on Monday.
But a few more big performances could mean the big stage of the United States is on the horizon.
"He's not quite old enough," she said.
"I don't want to go when he's 10, not enjoy it and not want to go back when he's 15 and has more of a chance to progress.
"But we'll just keep going as long as he wants to go."
The new owner of a sash and shiny belt buckle, Riley knows he doesn't deserve all the accolades.
"Thanks for my mum for carting me around the place," he said.
The Mount Isa Rodeo runs to Sunday.