ALTON Downs cowgirl Jorja Iker plans to fly to Victoria for three rodeos in March in her quest to win her first all around pro tour title in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association.
She showed at the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals in late October that she could mix it with the best when she set a new national finals record of 1.85 seconds in breakaway roping.
After being unplaced in the first two rounds at Warwick, Jorja won round 3 at the national finals in a time of 2.15 seconds and then won round 4 in 1.85 seconds.
Jorja has been riding her quarter horse Denver, a horse which has helped her win one pro tour buckle and the 2017 national title in breakaway roping
"Denver is fast across the line and loves breakaway roping," Jorja said.
"I bought him at the Rockhampton Quarter Horse Sale 10 years ago and we won the breakaway roping at Emerald two months later."
Originally from Springsure, Jorja finished her schooling at Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School in 2002 before following a rodeo dream.
Her parents both enjoyed success on the rodeo circuit. Her father Ian Watkins was a bull rider and now judges while her mother Donna won a national open barrel racing title at the age of 14.
While she has ridden Denver in the barrel race, she said he was much more suited to roping.
To win an all around pro tour title, Jorja has to also win in barrel racing and has plenty of confidence in her young horse TJ.
"There is a lot of tough competition in the barrel race," she said.
While most of the early season action is in the southern states, Jorja will start her 2020 season campaign at the New Year's Eve Rodeo at Mitchell in south-west Queensland.
She and husband Shane Iker will concentrate on the Queensland rodeos next year but plan one trip to Victoria for three rodeos on the long weekend in March - Kyabram, Merrijig and Chiltern rodeos.
Jorja has won some of the top rodeos in the nation but a win at Mt Isa has eluded her.
"Winning the breakaway roping at Mt Isa is on my bucket list," she said.
When the Iker family arrive in Mitchell for the New Year's Eve Rodeo, son Mason will also have his horse on the truck.
"Mason is four years old and competes in the junior barrel race on Stormy," Jorja said.
Most competitors have a favourite rodeo and hers is Nebo.
"I have won Nebo a couple of times, there is a phenomenal atmosphere at the rodeo."
She has competed in team roping in combination with husband Shane and is planning to contest some more team roping competitions this season.
The next APRA action will be the Xtreme Bulls Rodeo at Luddenham (NSW) and the Deloraine Bulls Bronc's and Barrels (Tasmania) on December 7.
The first rodeo on the Christmas Run is on Boxing Day at Myrtleford in north-east Victoria.