FORT WORTH, Texas - It's been a long, grueling year, to say the least, for Pete Farley, and one that he's ready to put behind him, but not before next weekend's Farley Brothers Charity PBR Bull Riding in Kempsey, Australia.
As the spry 24-year-old continues to recover from a life-altering accident that took place at a practice pen in December of 2011, after bucking off Tough All Over (who will be retired at the Dec. 8 event), he and his brothers - Denny and Jared - are playing host to the event at the Kempsey Show Grounds.
Tickets for the outdoor event are available for $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
The one-night event will feature Australian riders Lachlan and Cliff Richardson, Budd Williamson, Chris Lowe and Pete's brother Jared Farley. New Zealand rider Fraser Babbington will compete, along with American favorite Zack Brown, who has been in Australia for the past month.
"The main committee for sourcing sponsorship and laying the initial groundwork was me and my mother Rosy," said Pete Farley, "with Jared helping where possible from the U.S. - sourcing the champion's buckle. Since Jared has returned home, at the start of this month, he's been really good and helping out not only with the bull riding, but also farm work and leather.
"The PBR has been really good with helping us and working through the bumps of our first-year event. Also, local and national businesses have come on board to help, as well."
The youngest of the three Farley brothers said he's doing well and continues to improve.
However, he still has a long and somewhat uncertain road ahead.
Through a series of messages exchanged via Facebook, where fans and fellow riders alike keep in touch with him, Farley explained that he still sees double, and has received different opinions from the two ophthalmologists he's visited.
The first doctor he consulted said the vision could be corrected in a few months by undergoing a strabismus surgery, while a second specialist advised against the procedure, saying it would not provide the desired result.
Farley will seek a third opinion after the first of the year.
In the meantime, his hard work and effort in rehab has physically paid off, and after being unable to work in his leather shop for months, he's finally back to leatherworking. He called it a "major relief."
"I worked very hard to get back to that stage," said Farley. "With Christmas orders coming in and the bull riding, along with running the family farm, I'm run off of my feet."
Despite the disappointment of not being able to ride bulls - a part of his life he will always miss - he hasn't lost his dry sense of humor, joking that in January he "will need a holiday after Christmas."
In 2008, Farley was the Australian champion, and three times, he represented his country at the PBR World Cup.
Now after three years of competing on the Built Ford Tough Series, along with various Touring Pro Division events in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a couple trips back and forth to Australia, the past year has been a big change for Farley.
"I guess life really has slowed down," he said. "You go from being a professional bull rider and living on planes, different cities, states and countries every week to life without that and it really is a pretty 180 (degree) change.
"I'll always want to ride bulls. That'll never change, but I don't really feel like doing it."
Farley last competed at an Australian Cup event in Tamworth last year.
This year, he and his brother Denny hauled bulls to the event, while Jared competed. Jared said when he's busy at home working cattle and finishing various leather projects, he's not burdened by the fact of not competing. However, being at an event is a whole other thing.
"I guess life really has slowed down. You go from being a professional bull rider and living on planes, different cities, states and countries every week to life without that, and it really is a pretty 180 (degree) change."
"It's definitely a lot harder," Farley said. "The first few months were hard, but in saying that, it would have been a lot harder for my family and friends to watch, I'd reckon."
When he pauses long enough to think about the past 12 months, he's truly come a long way from lying in a coma in a hospital.
"As far as rehab goes with my hand," he said, "there can't be anything much better than carving leather, and most people who have tried leather tooling will agree with that.
"I do plan to visit the U.S. in the coming year, possibly just for a shorter stay to try and spend some time carving leather and visit with some leatherworkers with the intention of learning from them whilst I still have the contacts in the U.S. There are a lot of good Australian leatherworkers, but we don't carve (and) tool here like they do in the U.S. That's where the styles I try and follow originated."
For the next week or so the entire Farley family is focused on the benefit.
Fans in Australia, as well as those in other parts of the world who are unable to attend the event, can visit facebook.com/kempseypbr or eventopia.co/kempseypbr to make donations. Farley is also regularly updating his personal Facebook page with information and details about the progress of the event.
Kempsey is described as a rural community, but the Farley's "anticipate drawing a good crowd."
"For the level of PBR action people will see," Farley said, "I think it's very competitive and won't get it any cheaper."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.