A buckle bonanza: Willow Tree cowgirl shines

NICHOLE Fitzpatrick established herself as the ABCRA’s golden girl and might have some tough decisions when it comes to accessorising.

The Willow Tree cowgirl cleaned up again at yesterday’s presentation luncheon adding three national title and two national finals champion buckles to her quickly-expanding 

collection.

Among her haul was the coveted All Round Cowgirl title, which she won for the second consecutive year and third time in five years.

The All Round Cowboy title went to Walcha’s Carl Green.

Green had a sensational year on the roughstock and also claimed the bull ride and saddle bronc national titles.

He virtually had both in his keeping heading into the finals but still had to perform to win the all-round honours, which he did.

“The bronc I won the first round and was second in the second,” he said.

“The bulls I was second in the third round.”

Fitzpatrick was also in the money during the finals.

She had a busy program having qualified to compete in all three womens events – steer undecorating, breakaway roping and barrel racing.

Perhaps more impressively in all three she is either the national champion or runner-up.

The title she missed out on was the barrel race, but she had some consolation winning the finals aggregate.

She also took out the all round honours for the finals.

It reinforced what a great year she’s had.

“It has been awesome for me,” she said.

But it was not a huge surprise after winning the all round, steer undecorator and breakaway roper titles last year.

“I didn’t aim to win anything,” she said.

It was more about getting some of her younger horses some experience.

She started at least three barrel racing horses over the season.

“The horse (Justa) I rode at the finals she’s only been going for about 12 months,” she said.

That made it all the more special.

She and husband Scott brought Justa at the Landmark Classic sale as a two-year old, and in the year she’s been competing on her, she’s gone from not knowing how to go around the barrels to helping Fitzpatrick win national finals titles.

“I really wanted to win the average on my mare in the barrel racing,” she said.

“That pretty much made my finals.”

It wasn’t enough to catch Bianca Hertel though as she picked up another barrel racing national title.

Heath Nichols also had a good year and claimed the steer wrestling and rope and tie national titles, while father and son David and Blake Hallam won the team roping header and heeler titles and Gerrard Oversby the bareback title.

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