WHILE most young rodeo competitors do well as the result of following their parents through the ranks, Coonamble’s Bianca Hertel doesn’t have the rodeo gene flowing through her system.
“It’s just me,” said the bubbly 20-year-old who will be eyeing off good results in the barrel and breakaway roping at Bendemeer Rodeo on Saturday.
While her parents back her 100 percent in the sport, Bianca bred her nine-year-old mare Cash, and nurtured her through to the top barrel racing horse she is today.
At the recent National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Tamworth, Bianca and Cash slipped around the drums in record-breaking (17.04sec) time.
And that wasn’t a one-off thing. Bianca and Cash took the barrel racing title for the third successive year.
And they finished on top in the averages after the four rounds.
“She’s my girl,” Bianca said of her partner.
“We do a lot of practice – lots. And the barrel is my favourite event.”
With the 2014 NFR season just kicked off, Bianca “thinks” she’s currently in second spot on the barrel racing ladder.
“A good result at Bendy would be very helpful,” she said.
And while the girls strut their stuff in the skilled events of barrel, breakaway roping and steer undecorating on Saturday, all eyes will be on the blokes who take their lives in their hands in the bullride, saddlebronc and bareback.
That’s where the “protection” boys like Lincoln Brown (bullride) and pick-up team of Upper Horton’s Pete and Dave Kelly step up a gear.
Brown’s job is to protect the bullriders from injury while the Kellys team up to “set ourselves in the right position to get the cowboy off the horse and out of the arena” according to older brother Pete Kelly.
Bendemeer Rodeo Committee’s Adam Newman is looking forward to a top program, despite their decision to can the popular campdraft because of cattle shortages with the current drought.
“It’ll be a whopper – from midday. The main event will be from 6pm,” he said. “A Westpac Helicopter Service rep will open the rodeo.”
New to the program is the Invitational Poley Buckjump.
“It gets right back to the grassroots of rodeo where the six cowboys ride in their working saddles, not rodeo ones.”
Another popular event will be the Celebrity Barrel between leaguers Kootingal Roosters, who will be defending their crown, and the Bendemeer Mountain Men.