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Brandenburg 0 | Chainsaw 12

DARREN Brandenburg isn’t a stranger to great bucking bulls having bred many good bulls that have competed and won events on both the APRA and PBR circuit here in Australia.

“Brandy” as he is more affectionately known runs Brandenburg Bucking Bulls with his family on the central coast of Queensland. His daughter Dakota Brandenburg would become PBR Australia’s inaugural Stock Contractor of The Year in 2017.

Elite bulls such as Unbroken, Gotcha Rockin and Gangatino have been bred or acquired by the Brandenburg’s and bucked at some of Australia’s most prestigious Rodeo’s and PBR events in the country.

Brandenburg is also a former two - time Australian bull riding champion.

Starting out his career back in the 1980’s when a lot of the roughstock was carted in from outback stations and the scrub, it was a time before the sport became professional like it is today with a lot of today’s bulls having the bucking genetics of some of the great stock from yesteryear.

Just as Brandenburg was starting off his career so was another but of the bovine variety. An untamed, unpredictable and uncanny young brahman cross bull named Chainsaw.

As Brandenburg recalls it was around the year of 1986 and the buzz around this young bull was growing louder and louder.

“Right then he had a reputation already. I’d heard about him, seen a little bit of him before I ever got on him.” Brandenburg said.

As fate would have it Brandenburg would draw this young bull at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. It would be the first Indoor national finals held in Australia.

“It was the first year I went to the national finals rodeo. It was the last go round and he (Chainsaw) was the bull I had.

“He was certainly one that everyone wanted to put their name on that’s for sure to say they’d rode him.” Said Brandenburg.

Of course, it was a rare occurrence to ride Chainsaw for the required 8 seconds and unfortunately for Brandenburg that night in 1986 wasn’t going to be his either.

In fact, Brandenburg would attempt to ride Chainsaw a further 12 times over his career for no score.

IMAGE: Darren Brandenburg and Chainsaw at Boondall Rodeo, QLD in 1987.

Photo taken by Mike Kenyon.

For Brandenburg, it wasn’t so much that Chainsaw had a nasty streak but just a freak ability to be able to change his bucking style with such force and unpredictability.

“He wasn’t a bull that I would say scared you, feared you, I mean he did hurt some people.

“He’d flick the horn at you. He split some eyes open and stuff like that depending on what sort of people were riding him.

“He definitely wasn’t that he wouldn’t hurt you but he never feared me as far as a bull with a reputation that would be a bad bull to get on.” Brandenburg said.

“He had that big roll in him, you could feel like you could ride him, I went close a few times on him, real close but there was always just something about him he’d shoulder a different roll or he had a couple of different trips in him where one he would do a belly roll around to the right or otherwise, he could be real up and down and around and dropping and kicking and go back the other way.

“I think he was a bull that felt where you were.” Brandenburg said.

For a man that has spent most of his life around bulls either riding at Rodeo’s in his younger days or at home on the farm to trucking them to events across the country and working the pens behind the chutes at an event, there is still an aura around Chainsaw that Brandenburg will never forget. Even after almost 25 years after the bull’s death.

“The thing about him was, I’ve been around a lot of bulls in my time, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bull that had excitement or adrenaline flow off a bull. I mean when you come off you could feel it.”

IMAGE: Darren Brandenburg and Chainsaw at Tamworth NFR 1991.

Photo taken by Sally H.

That feeling of aura could be felt even at the back of the pens.

“You could be just standing (next to him) pat him and feel the energy and excitement coming off that bull. It was like standing next to bloody Mohammed Ali.

“When they’d unload him off the truck, he was real cat like, you know he’d half run down the ramp a few sidesteps, being real waspy around the yards, he’d certainly come to life.” Brandenburg said.

“He (Chainsaw) was certainly an entertainer; he was renowned for his big victory laps around the arena after he’d throw them off. He wouldn’t cut it half way he’d go right around the fence with his head up, prancing around like he’s just knocked out the freakin’ world’s champ” Brandenburg said.

It is very hard to compare athletes from any era and the 1980’s and 1990’s produced some great bulls like Chainsaw to Gill Brothers produced bulls like Bambi and Insanity to O’Connell’s Tomohawk to name a few.

But how would some of the top bulls back then compare to the bulls of today that buck at the major PBR and APRA events across the country?

Brandenburg, who is one of the leading stock contractors in the country has his view.

“I think the top of the bulls back then were as good as the bulls of today. There’s just a lot more of them now.

“There probably fed a lot more now from when there younger because they’re bred (for rodeo). They get a lot better head start than buying bulls that are two- or three-year-old out of the scrub or out of the saleyards.

“There a lot more prepared for it I suppose.” Brandenburg explains.

Oddly enough, one of the fondest memories Brandenburg has of Chainsaw occurred over the other side of the world when he was competing at Rodeo’s in the USA.

“I was at Billy Bob’s. A massive, massive bar in Fort Worth (Texas).

“And I got to go in the office of the guy that owned it, Billy Minick.

“We were sitting there having a yarn and looked up and there’s a picture of Chainsaw and it was me on him.

“We got yarning about it and he was that interested because he Rodeo’d a bit.

“That bull was well known over there, every time you would go somewhere (they’d say) “What about this bull Chainsaw?”

“The best bull riders in the world had heard about him.”

From Chainsaw’s humble beginnings being bought out of the saleyards at Homebush where his life could have been cut short before it even started to a bucking bull sensation that captured the hearts of not only Rodeo fans in Australia but also the world, he is still talked about all these years later.

Chainsaw 327 the book written by Brent Langley is due to be published in 2022.

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