LAS VEGAS - In 1983, Clark Griswold took his family on a cross-country drive from Chicago to Los Angeles in the blockbuster hit movie "National Lampoon's Vacation."
The trip to Wally World proved to be a bit more arduous than first thought, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Nearly 30 years later, Australian bull rider David Kennedy recently spent two months driving cross-country and back with his family - his wife and three kids - in a $2,000 conversion van they bought in August.
While it wasn't nearly as arduous as the fictional Griswold's story, it was equally as adventurous and entertaining.
Kennedy said his 4-year-old daughter Pippa will start school next year, so he decided to have his entire family join him in the U.S. for the last four Built Ford Tough Series events of the 2012 season - Tampa, Fla., Greensboro, N.C., Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, and the World Finals in Las Vegas.
They traveled to several Touring Pro Division events along the way, as well.
He said he loves being at home with his family, so to have a chance to have them in the U.S. with him was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"I guess, wherever your family is, that's home," Kennedy said, "so it makes it feel a little bit more like home."
Along the way they saw Mount Rushmore, while driving through the Dakotas, and in upstate New York, they made their way to Niagara Falls. They spent time in Orlando, Fla., so they could take the kids - Pippa, 4, Billy, 2 and Parker, 4 months - to Disney World.
On their way to Vegas, they even made it a point to stop and see the Grand Canyon.
"My kids have been on the road and me and my wife travel everywhere together," said Kennedy, who mapped out their trip in which they spent some nights in motels, or with friends along the way - and even slept in the van. "We just camp in that - whatever we have to do to get down the road."
"This is it. You walk in there and you're right up beside (those) guys and you know you've made it."
The 2012 Australian Champion, who represented his country at the World Finals, is back home beginning this week to defend his title.
PBR Australia will host the first of three Australian Cup events this weekend.
The first event is in Wollongong on Saturday, followed by Townsville and Tamworth the next two weekends.
After winning the national title this past summer - the third time he's done so - Kennedy said he was feeling confident in his abilities until he matched up with the rankest bulls in the world once he started competing at the BFTS.
"They sort of beat me down again," he admitted.
But with the new point system in place, he's hoping to get a good start on the 2013 season, but he added, "The only way to do that is to stay on bulls."
Kennedy hopes to be back again soon.
The 28-year-old has ridden in at least one BFTS event for the past four seasons for a total of 21 events, including three appearances at the World Finals, but he knows to stay in the States for any length of time, he'll have to greatly improve upon his riding average of 21.15 percent.
"This is it," Kennedy said. "You walk in there and you're right up beside (those) guys and you know you've made it.
"Then you get here and you start bucking off a few bulls and you start questioning whether you should be here or not. Then you just have to remember you are the Australia Champion, or whatever you've done in the past, and just get your confidence and back yourself again."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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