Fitzpatrick makes it three on the trot at nationals

WILLOW Tree cowgirl Nichole Fitzpatrick roped in another national allround title at AELEC on Saturday night.

Fitzpatrick was crowned  ABCRA’S top cowgirl for the third straight year at the conclusion of the national finals.

She also picked up the breakaway roping and steer undecorating national title buckles for the second straight year and was the best performer in the breakaway roping for the finals. 

She finished the finals on a high note winning the breakaway roping with a quick catch of 2.19 seconds.

The allround cowboy buckle was won by Scone’s Heath Nichols.

Nichols also claimed back-to-back rope and tie national titles and was the steerwrestling champion for the finals.

He had a very impressive finals, picking up several round wins and placings over the four nights of competition in the steerwrestling, rope and tie and team roping.

He won the final two rounds of the steer wrestling with times of 4.25secs and 4.28secs, and after winning the third round and placing second on the final night was runner-up in the rope and tie 


The final night threw up many fast times, high scores, close competition, and even saw national records broken as the battle for national titles went down to the wire.

The ladies barrel race was as close 

as it comes with only $13 separating first and second heading into the final round.

Reigning champion Bianca Hertel proved why she’s the best, handling the pressure and making a round winning run of 17.04secs.

It was the quickest national finals time ever recorded at AELEC, and wrapped up another barrel racing national title for Hertel.

Brianna Learmonth was second (17.37secs) with 18-year old Hayley Hill taking out third (17.44).

Father and son duo Steve and Ty Parkinson also broke the national finals AELEC team roping record with their slick time of 5.31secs.

Second place went to the combination of Casey Tribe and Ben Smith (6 seconds) and third Troy Caban and Steve Sutherland (6.28).

In the open bull ride former champion David Mason rode Toss Up to an 82 point score to win the event from younger brother Steven who scored 75 points aboard RideTuff Bad Vibes, and secure the national title.

Western Australia cowgirl Ariana Varischetti once again made her way to the pay window winning the steer undecorating with a time of 2.27 seconds. Second place was Attunga’s Teagan Glass with Tamra Clark coming in third.

Tamworth’s Blake Hallam stopped the clock at 9.43secs to win the rope and tie from Nichols (9.76).

Hallam also had team success with he and Stephen Mapp claiming the team roping national title - Hallam as the heeler and Mapp the header. The horse rough stock events proved tough for the judges.

They couldn’t split Wade Clifford and Deon Lane in the bareback scoring both 73.

It was a similar story in the saddlebronc with Mark Edwards and Carl Green riding their way to first with 76.

Overall national champion Tony Caldwell and Brent Smyth shared the third prizemoney with 71, as did David Worsfold and Ben Lees (72) in the bareback.

Dee Heinemann added another national title to his collection taking out the overall honours, while Glen Chape finshed number one in the steer wrestling.

On the final night Ryley Gibb was second behind Nichols with 4.76secs. Mark Gibb (4.97secs) was also under five seconds and took third.

In the breakaway roping Lauren Smith (2.23) picked up second and Emily Harris (2.49) was third.

Competitors are now back on the road and headed to the next rodeo in hopes of once again qualifying for next year’s national finals.

The campdraft national champions were also decided on the weekend.

Troy Palmer again figured heavily winning the most successful rider as well as the open horse with Binnia Impressive Destiny and novice horse with Sanador.

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