THURSDAY night saw the ABCRA Rodeo National Finals heat up before Australia’s best campdrafters saddled up for their first round yesterday.
The man who has won every major campdrafting crown in the country, Troy Palmer, hit the ground running yesterday and is already looking to add another trophy to his cabinet.
The cowboy was in top form in the first round of the National Finals, although with full fields of 25 competitors in all events he is amongst some stiff competition.
ABCRA Executive Officer Hunter Jones applauded the crowds and the AELEC surface after the first day.
“The surface is excellent and so is the riding – it is superb,” Jones said.
“The skill levels in both the rodeo and campdraft befit a finals series and it is only going to get better in the finals on Saturday.”
Round two of the rodeo was one of the toughest rounds of competition ever witnessed at the AELEC arena.
After not one cowboy stayed on a bull in the opening round, three of the competitors manned up and hung on.
Moonbi’s Ty Parkinson was the best of the three with a top score of 84.
Carl “Green Machine” Green was three points behind in second and David Mason scored 76 for third.
The highlight of the night was the Barrel Racing competition, with the top five place- getters all within 0.07 seconds of each other.
The young guns of the competition were on fire and took home the top three spots.
Topping the leader board with a lightning time of 17.39 seconds was 18-year-old southern zone competitor Hayley Hill.
Tamworth’s Courtney Hallam finished second with a 17.43, and Brianna Learmonth and Jo Farquhar tied for third with a time of 17.45 seconds.
The Steer Undecorating was just as close, with the placegetters within 0.8 seconds of each other.
Western Australia competitor Ariana Varischetti proved she could mix it with the best of them, taking home the top honours with a blistering time of 1.98 seconds.
Nichole Fitzpatrick took home second with a time of 2.13 and Attunga’s Jannette Glass was third with 2.46.
The USA’s Shawn Reynolds made a quick catch of 2.60 seconds in the Breakaway Roping to win the event ahead of Michelle Roots with her time of 2.89.
Joel Mancell was the eventual winner of the Rope and Tie event after recording a time of 9.68 seconds.
Parkinson backed up from the rodeo to get second with a time of 10 seconds flat, and Shane Kenny finished in third with 10.89.
The Team Roping was of world-class level with many close times recorded, however once again the unstoppable brothers, Stephen and Matthew Mapp, finished ahead of the pack with a very impressive time of 5.78 seconds.
Not far behind was father and son pair Mark and Riley Gibb with a time of 6.48 seconds.
The Steer Wrestling event saw some very close times, with all five placegetters under the five second mark.
Cody Sheahan was the one to take home the win though after stopping the clock at 4.25 seconds.
Heath Nichols and Mark Gibb both hit 4.28 seconds to tie for second.
Former champion Luke Morgan rode his way to victory in the Saddle Bronc competition with a score of 77 points.
Mark Edwards was a close second with 75 and Tony Caldwell and Sam Terry both scored 73 points for equal third.
The Open Bareback was won by Deon Lane who rode his way to a 77-point score. Only one point behind was David Worsfold in second place with 76. Clayton Lane and Wade Clifford took home equal third place with a score of 73.
Today will see the final round and finals of the campdraft before the AELEC will light up for the rodeo finals tonight.
A huge crowd is expected and tickets are still available.