GUNNEDAH cowgirl Teneille Clifford has finished the Christmas Run in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association with victory in the barrel race at the Wangaratta Rodeo in Victoria.
The Christmas Run of seven rodeos started at Myrtleford in Victoria on Boxing Day and ended at Wangaratta last Saturday.
Clifford was 13th in APRA standings before the start of the Christmas Run and needs to record some placings before the April 30 finish of qualifying to be assured of a spot at the National Finals Rodeo at the Gold Coast in June.
Barrel racing standings leader Leslie Moore, of Denman, maintained her strong form with a win at the Deniliquin Under The Stars Rodeo.
Narrabri rider Zoe Swain was third in breakaway roping at Deniliquin.
Teneille’s husband Wade Clifford, a former bareback bronc riding director of the APRA , was second in the bareback at Tumbarumba and fourth at Deniliquin, prize money which will help in his battle with Fred Osman, of Gore (Qld), and Matthew Makinson, of Upper Horton, for the bareback pro tour title.
Upper Horton and former Warwick cowboy Brock Mulhall won the bareback at Myrtleford and Deniliquin.
Current APRA all around cowgirl champion Wendy Caban, of Moree, combined with Chris McPhee for fourth in the open team roping at Tumbarumba.
Tooma (NSW) cowboy Brad Pierce was the star of the Christmas Run with success in saddle bronc and bull rides.
In a sport where only a handful of cowboys compete in more than one rough stock event, Pierce is a runaway leader in APRA all-around, saddle bronc and bull ride standings.
With the Christmas Run over, the next major group of rodeos will be on the Victorian long weekend in March with rodeos at Kyabram on March 8, Merrijig on March 9 and Chiltern on March 10.
One of the major rodeos in the next month will be at Wilmington in South Australia on January 26, one of the most famous rodeos in the APRA.
The APRA season ends on April 30 so competitors from all states needing prize money to break into the top 15 and qualify for the finals are likely to head south for the Victorian long weekend.
APRA program: January 19 Stony Creek (Vic), Ulverstone (Tas); January 26 Harveydale (Tas), Wilmington (SA); February 2 Glengarry (Vic), Peterborough (SA), Ross (Tas); February 16 Ballarat (Vic); February 23 Narrandera (NSW), Whittlesea (Vic); March 1 Woodford Bull Ride (Qld); March 2 Wagga Wagga (NSW), Millmerran Show Rodeo (Qld); March 8 Kyabram (Vic); March 9 Merrijig (Vic); March 10 Gowrie Park (Tas), Chiltern (Vic).