THE best of the best in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association will compete in the Christmas Run of rodeos in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales.
Nine rodeos are scheduled in the Christmas Run starting at Myrtleford in north east Victoria on Boxing Day.
The final rodeo will be at the K Ranch arena at Mt Hunter in New South Wales on January 6.
The Christmas Run is a great chance for riders to win prize money and secure a spot in the top 15 in the new season.
Once in the top 15, riders will be aiming to record some placings to maintain their spot and qualify for next year’s national finals.
The number of cowgirls competing regularly on the APRA circuit is rising.
This weekend, the only APRA rodeo is at Wynyard in Tasmania where there are 22 riders in the barrel race and 18 in breakaway roping, the most at the rodeo.
Leongatha (Victoria) rider Elley Hulls won the all around title at the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals in October and will be the cowgirl to beat on the Christmas Run.
She faces tough opposition in the barrel race from South Australian rider Candy Michaelis who won the APRA title and aggregate in barrel racing at the Warwick Rodeo.
The highest-placed Queenslander at the national finals was Springsure barrel racer Teneille Angland.
She won round 1 and was fourth in round 3 for a third in the aggregate with a four-round time of 72.723 seconds.
Angland has been one of the best barrel racers in the nation in the past decade.
Gundagai (NSW) cowgirl Adele Edwards was second in the aggregate in breakaway roping with a time of 72.531 after one win and one third at the national finals last month.
Lockington (Vic) rider Cherie O’Donoghue won the breakaway roping title at the finals and always performs well on the Christmas Run.
Hulls won the aggregate in breakaway roping at the national finals and will provide tough opposition for O’Donoghue and Edwards.
At the Warwick Rodeo, Hulls recorded two thirds and two fourths in breakaway roping to win the aggregate with a time of 19.050 seconds over four head, 20 seconds quicker than the next best in the aggregate.
Christmas Run Rodeos
December 26: Myrtleford Golden Spurs Rodeo, Victoria
December 28: Yarrawonga Rodeo, Victoria
December 29: Carrieton Rodeo, South Australia
December 30-31: Smithton Rodeo and Stockman’s Challenge, Tasmania
January 1: Tumbarumba Rodeo, NSW
January 2: Rich River Timed Events, Victoria
January 4 : Finley Rodeo, NSW
January 5: Wangaratta Rodeo, Victoria
January 6: K Ranch Rodeo, Mt Hunter, NSW