A ringer is a male or a female stock worker who makes sure that a number of important tasks are done properly and in a timely manner on an Australian cattle station. It is a responsible and physically demanding job and it is not for the timid type of a person. However, if you find the thought of big horizons, scrub bulls, good horses and living and working on a remote cattle station pleasing, then being a ringer might be the adventure you need in your life. Learning something new every day, whether it is an important skill like driving a truck or a simple one like tying a knot, the chance to have a genuine Australian experience is more than worthwhile. So, here are some of the things you need to know about being a ringer.
As ringers usually work with the cattle from March to November (in the dry season when there is little or no rainfall), they must wear proper clothes. All their jeans, boots, swags, shirts, hats, caps, belts, vests and jackets need to be of a great quality in order to withstand the physically demanding tasks. The main characteristic of the ringers western clothing style is the focus on durability and comfort. Cotton is used for shirts and caps and stretching denim is the best option when it comes to jeans. Regarding jackets and vests, polyester and nylon ones with insulating properties are a good choice, along with leather belts as they can stand the test of time. In addition, all ringers western clothing ought to make it possible for the wearer to move a lot with ease.
When it comes to the responsibilities of a ringer, it is all about having good organizational skills. Ringers muster the cattle from paddock to paddock and during each round, brand the calves, draft the weaners and fats, take care of the spaying procedures and do pregnancy testing. In the meantime, there are always other things to be done such as fencing and maintenance jobs on the station. Working hours are long and hard and oftentimes ringers are pushed out of their comfort zone, but meeting incredible people with fascinating stories is well worth it. When taking a break from the daily routines, ringers go to the annual rodeos, shows and campdrafts where they compete, socialise and have a good time. The fact that ringers travel sometimes hundreds of kilometres for these events is proof enough that it is an enjoyable experience.
At the end of the day, what makes a ringer great in their job is the attitude. Taking pride in a job well done, showing initiative and being willing to learn, work hard and remain loyal are some of the personality traits that make a successful ringer. Oh yes, and a good sense of humour.