When Canadian woman Kyla Dolen first met cowboy Fred Osman she admits she was instantly infatuated.
“I had moved out on a backpacking visa and had got a job helping out at his dad’s station,” she said.
“After working with him I was very twitterpated and in love with him.”
That was 12 years ago.
Now, she’s married her dream man.
The couple tied the knot on Sunday, paying homage to Fred’s stockman roots as they said “I do” in front of a crowd on the red-dirt arena of the Mount Isa Rodeo — the biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
In true cowboy fashion, just an hour after his vows, Mr Osman, 36, went on to win the bareback ride, defending his 2021 champion title.
“I don’t know what I was more nervous about, getting married or winning my fourth buckle here,” he said.
A long road to rodeo romance
A year ago, Mr Osman popped the question to Ms Dolen while on a hike in Canada, right before he flew back to Australia.
“It was dodgy as. I didn’t have a ring or anything at the time so I just nicked one of her other little rings and did it with that,” he said.
“But I just wanted to make sure, because we were doing a lot of flying between countries, that she knew what my intentions were.”
After COVID-19 lockdowns forced the couple into a 10-month long-distance engagement, Ms Dolen had had enough.
“My dream wedding was always to get married in Canada in the mountains,” she said.
“But after COVID and everything, I didn’t know when we were going to get back to Canada. And I’m lazy and I don’t like planning things. And I didn’t want to plan a wedding. So I was like, why don’t we just get married at Mount Isa?
“He was already going to be here riding in the rodeo and his family was coming to watch him ride so it was just so easy.
“And I wanted him to be excited about it as well and have a venue that he was excited about.”
At the noon lunch break on Sunday, Ms Dolen walked onto the Mount Isa Rodeo arena in a sparkling white two-piece gown and cowgirl boots, her family watching via live stream from Canada.
“It’s been awesome. When you really love someone, it’s really hard to just pick the small things you love about them — it’s just the whole entity of that person that you’re drawn to,” she said.
“He’s my best friend and I just can’t imagine doing life without him anymore.”