Former National Rugby League star (and now Stan network ambassador) Beau Ryan knows a thing or two about getting shoved into the dirt.
But his ride on a professional rodeo bull, Hell Yeah, to get a taste of the real cowboy life was a bit beyond anything he'd ever done before.
Ryan was at a Melville ranch tucked on the north side of the Hunter River near Maitland, where Stan executives had talked him into doing a promotional shoot for Yellowstone, the modern-day western drama starring Kevin Costner that opens its third season on Stan on Monday.
"I thought I was riding a mechanical bull," he said. But the 600kg Hell Yeah they put him on top of us was the real thing. "I had one go. Everyone was quite calm until I got on the back of the bull."
Ryan said he clocked a ride of about two-and-a-half seconds before being bucked off.
"I reckon it was closer to 10 seconds, if you round it up, from 2.5 seconds," he said. "It felt like 40 minutes.
"I hit the ground, and it was muddy and wet. I thought it was going to be soft. When I fell off I thought it would take some weight out of it. But it was rock hard, man.
But i'm alive. I'm excited. I am going to have a party at my house with a mechanical bull for the [Yellowstone] launch."
Yellowstone was the most popular show on American cable TV in the 2019 northern summer, attracting more than 2million viewers a week. It features a strong cast anchored by Kevin Costner, who plays John Dutton, owner of the fictitious biggest ranch in the US. The main characters are his adult children - Kayce (Luke Grimes), Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly).
The show is written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and John Linson (Sons of Anarchy). It's full of dramatic twists, political enemies and lots of beautiful scenery and cowboy work, like herding cattle, mending fences ... and fishing.
"I've been a Kevin Costner fan for a long time," Ryan said. "It's a good way, every now and then, when I want to escape to a ranch or farm. My wife and I like watching it to get our fix.
"We like to binge on it. My wife is always a fan of the underdog. It's hard not to get caught up."