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03 February, 2014

WILLOW TREE COWGIRL

WILLOW TREE cowgirl Nichole Fitzpatrick has hit the lead in Australian Professional Rodeo Association standings for the first time after outstanding success on the Christmas Run in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Fitzpatrick was not in the top 20 late last year in all around cowgirl standings but has taken the lead from Moree rider Wendy Caban and Lavington star Stephanie Gard.

She boosted her spot in the standings with a barrel racing wins at Tumbarumba and a joint win at Finley in southern New South Wales. At Finley she set a new Australian Breakaway Roping Record of 1.85 seconds.

Fitzpatrick showed that consistency was the hallmark to move up the standings by adding a third at Deniliquin, fourth at Yarrawonga and sixth at Myrtleford in barrel racing to take the lead in the all around standings.

She also leads the barrel racing standings from Caban and Queensland rider PJ Hanrahan.

Fitzpatrick has won most of her prize money in the barrel race but has also placed in breakaway roping. Cowgirls must win money in at least two events to be in the running for the all around.

The top rider at the end of April will win the pro tour title in the APRA.

Caban has previously won pro tour titles but Fitzpatrick is in quest of her first in the APRA.

Plenty of NSW riders are travelling interstate in quest of championship points to press their claims for a top-15 finish and qualification for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre at Caboolture on May 1-4.

There are 26 more rodeos to the end of the season, half in Victoria, so New South Wales riders keen to go for titles and NFR qualification will need to travel south to some of the Victorian rodeos. Many are expected to nominate for the three rodeos on the Victorian long weekend in early March.

Three rodeos are scheduled this weekend, the Peter Evison Memorial Rodeo at Warragul in Victoria, a rodeo at Ross in Tasmania and the Peterborough Rodeo in South Australia.

The next New South Wales rodeo is at Wagga Wagga on February 15 when John P Gill, of The Rock, will provide the bucking stock.

Standings leaders: All around cowboy Shane Kenny (Emerald), saddle bronc Cameron Webster (Wandoan), bull ride Fraser Babbington (Beaudesert), bareback David Worsfold (Wandoan), rope and tie Shane Kenny (Emerald), steer wrestling Shane Iker (Alton Downs), team roping header Clancy Middleton (Emerald), team roping heeler Aaron Bookluck (Nilma North), all around cowgirl and barrel race Nichole Fitzpatrick (Willow Tree), breakaway roping Jorja Watkins (Alton Downs).
 



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