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Meet the Member – Neil Muscat
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Rodeo has taken Neil Muscat far, literally.
The Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association bull rider from Queensland, Australia, has not only seen pretty much all of his home country through his chosen career, he’s also found a home in America in Wall, S.D., the heart of cowboy country.
“It’s taken me everywhere. It’s allowed me to travel. I’ve been doing it for nearly 19 years now, so in my younger days in Australia I got to travel all over the country rodeoing, and then of course it allowed me to come to another country and do what I love, so it’s allowed me to see and do things that most people don’t ever get to do in their life,” he says of rodeo.
In particular, Neil has always been drawn to bull riding and from the time he started, he’s never looked back.
A young Neil took up the sport around the age of 12. He’d grown up on a farming and ranching operation in northeast Australia and gravitated naturally to rodeo. His hard work and talent earned him a full ride scholarship to attend Sheridan College and compete in college rodeo in Wyoming in 2006.
Rodeo hasn’t just brought Neil new horizons; it’s brought him love. He met his wife Sorrel while rodeoing in college, and the couple married in 2010. Her family ranches in South Dakota, so that’s how they ended up there. They just recently had their first baby, a girl named Brecken.
As if a brand new baby weren’t enough work, Neil works on the Shearer Ranch, Spear U Angus, one of the largest Black Angus producing operations in the area, so these days, Neil keeps busy with working the ranch and fits in rodeo whenever he can.
“I’m kinda getting a little long in the tooth,” Neil laughs and adds, ”I’m about to be 31 so I don’t go to as many as I used to. I used to go to everything, whatever I could get to, but I’ve slowed down a lot.”
Neil says that like many Australians he’s pretty laidback. He isn’t exactly a fan of towns and crowds, though he does enjoy seeing friends in the rodeo community when he gets to.
But fitting to his personality, when he’s not working or riding bulls, you’ll likely find Neil (if you look hard enough beyond his camouflage) calling coyotes as he spends time enjoying the solitude and wide-open spaces comforting to any cowboy, whether that cowboy is living on a ranch in South Dakota or across oceans down under.