I met Sam & Emma not too long-ago chasing sunsets in North Queensland...

For those of you who don’t know Emma, she is the beautiful person behind @emmadiecke on Instagram. Who started off as a customer of ours, Emma quickly grabbed our attention with her beautiful styling and fun twist on western fashion. Emma gives her followers a little insight into her life and you can see she is a genuine, down to earth, caring, hardworking kinda girl who loves to get dressed up but definitely does not mind getting dirty.
Sam is known for his remarkable career in bull riding, from qualifying for the Australian finals 6 years in a row to being invited to the biggest bull ride in the world at Barreto's in Brazil and finally to the big time invitational PBR. Since Sam’s accident on the dirt, like a true professional sportsman he continues to show just how determined he is and he continues to be a true inspiration in the sport of bull riding and community.
Watching Sam & Emma together and seeing their magic connection I couldn’t wait to sit down and chat to Emma about their journey and aspirations for their future!
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Where did you guys grow up?
Sam’s lived in quite a number of places. Born and spent the first 4 years of his life in Millaa Millaa Far North Queensland, then moved to Papua New Guinea with his family when his father got a job over there. He was the translator for the family, he learnt bits and pieces of the language over there. Then he moved back when he was 11 to Millaa Millaa, then finally down to Tully. Myself, not so extravagant, only one little country town for me. I grew up on my parent's cattle property (that we’ve had in our family since 1904) in Proserpine, in the Whitsundays. We have a block of land in Proserpine where we will officially move home in November to start building our little life together.
How did you get into Western Fashion?
I was miss rodeo Australia in 2017 so that’s kind of how I stumbled into it. Before MRA I was quite horrible with my fashion but the position made me wake up to myself (so to say). When I went to the US for NFR and saw all the gorgeous western fashion I really grew I love for all the different styles and diversity. Due to MRA I did get know a number of great boutiques and business owners who gave me the support to step out on Instagram more and the more I inspire people and help women step out of their comfort zones with fashion the more my love grows for my community.
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How did you & Sam meet?
We both met at a NYE PBR in 2012/2013 at charters towers after he had just won his first PBR, then again on Australia Day that year, again in the Towers where he actually said to one of his friends “I’m gonna marry that girl one day” and look at us now. I was miss rodeo Australia 2017 at the time and he was riding PBR still, we got in contact one day and spoke for at least 2.5 months, I’d fly to Victoria (where he was living at the time) for a rodeo and he would fly to Queensland for a PBR and vice versa, when he moved back to Queensland we decided to meet at a rodeo and the rest was history.
Was it love at first sight?
Not the very first time we met for me but when I first saw him again at that first rodeo, he definitely stole my breath and then the first kiss was definitely love at first kiss.
What do you do for fun? Do you have any ‘wild’ stories to share?
Oh gosh we have had a fair few WILD nights/weekends but none that are appropriate enough to share. But we would rather spend a night around the table or campfire, drinking, sharing stories, playing cards and laughing till your tummy hurts. The real moments that you remember and that count. We definitely make sure we make the most of life these days.
What is your favorite song at the moment?
We have so many favorite songs. It changes every week to be honest, or what we are in the mood for. My Spotify has such a wild mixture of songs. But we both LOVE Garth Brookes. We have all his cd’s (because he won’t release his music on Spotify yet) and we belt it out every time.
Tell me about your career?
After school I moved to Townsville to go to uni doing a double in nursing and midwifery. After a few years I discovered this career wasn’t for me, I got too involved and invested in the health and well-being of people too much. I worked at the sugar mill for a few years, travelled to America, drove around Australia. I then was an assistant manager on a coffee plantation before I became Miss Rodeo Australia. But we have both got a very career driven mind set since Sam’s accident. We want to start our own business so we can continue to work alongside each another. We also want to buy our own land to run more cattle and later go into the production of quality hay.
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How did Sam get into bull riding?
Sam got into bull riding because his oldest brother John did it. He is a spitting imagine of his brother and they have the same mind set so it was kind of like, “if he can do it, I can do it too and do it better”. Rode at his first rodeo when he was 11 and there was absolutely no stopping him from then on. Even as a kid he use to jump in the back of friend's horse floats, or in the truck just to be able to get to the next rodeo. His first big shot at the PBR was in 2009, Ingham, Queensland. He had been trying to get into the PBR but got denied because he wasn’t high enough in the standing, so didn’t qualify. He was living in Mareeba at the time (so a 3 hour drive away) when he got a phone call from Jackie Dunn the afternoon of the event and had got an exemption and there was a spot for him to start if he could make it to Ingham in 2 hours and you bloody bet he did make it in exactly 2 hours and ran from the car park to the event, the rest was history.
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Can you share a little bit about Sam’s journey and how you have been a part of his rehabilitation?
Sam had a fall off a bull at the Rockhampton NYE PBR 2017/2018. He suffered at T11/T12 complete spinal cord injury leaving him in a wheelchair with “no chance” of ever walking again. He moved to a spinal ward for 3 months where we were told daily “you’ll never walk again” or “just learn to live in the chair”. We left the hospital in Brisbane on a Friday and was moved to the Gold Coast over the weekend and Sam had started NeuroPhysics on the Monday and we’ve been there ever since. It’s a therapy that uses your neurons to find a new pathway around the point of injury to get the message from the brain down the good part of the spinal cord, around the injury and to start talking to his legs again. This is done by using just normal gym equipment and your own body. You will only get out what you put into it. We go to rehab every day for at least 2-3 hours but when we are at home we are also stretching, massaging, standing and always doing something towards exercising. So basically, we are “training” all day every day.
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I know you guys are engaged! What are your wedding plans & do you want any little cowgirl/cowboys?
We would like to get married winter 2022, at my parents' property. We both know we want a nice western wedding. Definitely a little cowboy or cowgirl, we know it’s going to be another journey in itself to try have a baby so whatever we will be blessed with will be loved unconditionally.
Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 years? What's your biggest goals?
We are moving home to Proserpine in 2 months. We are both going into full time work for 2 years at least before we can go for a loan. But hopefully in 5 years' time we are in our newly built home on our block of land with a baby looking over our bucking bulls. In a perfect life that is, but we know reality comes into play we will just take life day by day and embrace the chances and challenges. Our biggest goal is that Sam would like to be walking at our wedding. He doesn’t want the wheelchair invited to the ceremony.
What's your biggest piece of advice for someone going through a hard time?
We have both learnt soooo much since Sam’s accident. Every day is a new adventure and a new challenge either in our relationship or in rehabilitation but I think the thing we’ve needed the most in life was learning that it’s ok to have a bad day. Everyone has bad days, it’s acknowledging that it’s just a bad day and not the end of the world, you are going to wake up tomorrow and it will be completely different. Accept that it’s just one day you are having that’s just not quite working for you, you might not have had a good night sleep or you might have a bit on your plate and everything might be frustrating you but that doesn’t mean you have to push that bad day onto others or treat people like crap because YOU are having the bad day, they might be having the best damn day of their lives and you are bringing that down all because you haven’t accepted that it’s just hiccup in the whole scheme of thing. Don’t let that one bad day drag to the next day or the next. One thing our trainer likes to say when we are in a mood is “you could be having the worst day in the world then someone could call you and tell you that you just won $30 million, would you still be having a bad day?” We are the ones that control our own happiness.
Written By Lacey Long
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