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Meet the Member: Luke Morgan
story by Lily Weinacht
For the last three years, Luke Morgan has left his home in Australia to rodeo in Texas for several weeks. This year, however, the 26-year-old saddle bronc rider from Tamworth, New South Wales, and his travelling partner, Ben Maytom, made the 14 hour flight across the North Pacific Ocean in April and spent their summer rodeoing across the country and even into Canada. Nearly 65,000 miles and 100 rodeos later, the pair of saddle bronc riders are sitting first and second in the IPRA world standings, with Luke leading by $2,500.
A two-time ABCRA champion, Luke is the second generation of his family to rodeo. His dad, Glen Morgan, rode saddle broncs for more than 15 years in Australia and secured 13 titles in that time. He also competed in Canada and the U.S. during the ‘80s and ‘90s before retiring and becoming a rodeo announcer. Luke’s mom, Mary Morgan, also rodeoed, winning several barrel racing titles. Growing up, Luke and his brother, Cody, competed in roping and steer riding, and when he turned 19, Luke decided he would follow his father into the chutes, as well as another rodeo idol, Glen O’Neill. Cody was also competing in rodeo’s classic event until a broken leg halted his career. “Since I didn’t start riding broncs until I was 19, and we don’t have rodeo colleges in Australia, I had a bit of a slower start,” says Luke. “But I’ve been riding broncs pretty much full time for the last seven years, and I’m hoping to do a full season in the U.S. next year.”
Luke’s rookie year with the IPRA began precariously this spring when he broke his left arm at the PCA rodeo in Franklin, Ga., only two weeks into his season in the U.S. “The horse sort of squashed me in the back of the chute as he was leaving,” says Luke. “But I won the rodeo!” With several screws already holding his left wrist together from a previous injury, Luke added a plate and four more screws to the hardware collection in his arm and was back in the arena within four weeks. Since then, he and Ben have crisscrossed the U.S. competing in multiple associations including the PCA, SPRA, APRA, and the Canada Cup Rodeo Series. Luke won the average in the APRA finals rodeo just a week after placing second in the average in Saint-Tite, Quebec, on six horses.
When Luke and Ben stop long enough to brush the dirt off their boots, they stay with Chet Kidd and his family in Statesville, N.C., or when in Canada, Cody Mousseau or Tyler Foster and his family. “We want to thank them – they’ve all been really good to us, and it’s been really good hanging out with them this summer,” says Luke. When he’s home, he helps his parents raise cattle, while his brother trains racehorses. “I help train the young thoroughbreds,” Luke explains. “I’m lucky – I have a pretty good lifestyle there. Resistol Hats back home in Australia has looked after me and supported me along the way.” He plans to return to Australia to spend the holidays with his family and rest up before returning for his first IFR in January.
“I just hope I can go to the finals fit and healthy!” says Luke. “I’ve really enjoyed myself this year and getting to travel with Ben. He’s my brother-in-law to be – I’ve been with his sister, Jodi, for about five years. Between the two of us, Ben and I have done pretty good. All of America – and Canada – has been really good to us, and I’m hoping to at least win Rookie of the Year.”