A Winton cowboy has performed for 25,000 people in the "opportunity of a lifetime", singing alongside Cody Johnson on the Luke Combs Australian tour.
From performing in a small outback pub to a roaring crowd at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, upcoming Australian country music artist Wade Forster, 25, hit the jackpot when he was asked to perform at a concert with two of the biggest names in American country music.
While touring with Luke Combs in Australia, Cody Johnson said in an interview "if I won a (rodeo) buckle in Australia I would probably never take it off" and Mr Forster saw his opportunity.
"It just so happens I am a professional rodeo circuit cowboy so I made a TikTok back offering him a horse and gear and invited him to rope," Mr Forster said.
"I picked Cody up from Townsville Airport and we had an hour to practise before the rodeo. We went out there and everyone was watching us, you could feel everyone breathing down the back of your neck.
"We went out and roped one and the crowd went wild, the only thing that let us down was we hit the barrier and they gave us a 10 second penalty. We would have won, but that's rodeo."
After the rodeo Cody invited Mr Forster to Melbourne to perform with him at Rod Laver Arena for 25,000 people.
"It was pretty big compared to my last gig at Mount Isa which was 50," Mr Forster said.
"It was daunting when I walked out of the tunnel with Cody and the band...the door opened and I wanted to just turn around and run away, but like in rodeo you muscle up and keep going and got on the stage and all my nerves left me."
Mr Forster met Luke Combs and spent time with Cody getting some welcoming advice.
"It was an unreal experience. The best thing Cody said to me was keep being you. Music is a wild game and you have to pick and play your part.
"The best thing about me is that I've stayed true to myself and I write about things I want to talk about.
"I still rodeo, I am still mustering and working at home (Werna Station, Winton.) so hopefully this does become a big time job but I just want to stay true to myself and do the things that make me happy so I can write good songs."
Mr Forster's journey started in 2018 when he bought a guitar and taught himself to play and write songs.
In 2022 he released his first song on Spotify called Oneida, a Tyler Childers cover, which attracted significant interest online.
"They were pushing for some originals so I saved up all the money I made from rodeoing and working on cattle stations and I booked out the studio for a week and recorded 14 songs for my first album called 'The Beginning'. Hopefully it is the beginning of something great.
"It got great reviews internationally and that's the main goal is to go international and tell my stories all over the world.
"It's not about the fame, its about being able to tell the people what i've been through. I've written them, they're real things, real s**t that's happened to me."
Mr Forster plans to release a new album in 2024 and travel to America to rodeo and perform.
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