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07 September, 2016

BEST OF THE BEST TO COMPETE AT FINALS

Photo of Shane Kenny by Dave Ethell – www.dephotos.com.au

Photo of Errol Frain by Dave Ethell – www.dephotos.com.au

Photo of Heath Nichols by Stephen Mowbray – www.stephenmowbrayphotography.com

 

IT will be the best of Queensland against the best of New South Wales in the rope and tie in The Warwick Rodeo National Finals at the Warwick Showgrounds on October 27-30.

For the second time in recent years, the Australian Professional Rodeo Association is organising its national finals as part of the most  famous rodeo in the nation at Warwick.

Last year, Emerald cowboy Shane Kenny won four APRA title buckles in Warwick, the all around, rope and tie, steer wrestling and team roping.

He goes into this year’s  finals  with the lead in the rope and tie and sixth in team roping header standings.

Kenny didn’t finish the season in the top-15 in steer wrestling so will be aiming to win another all around title with just two events.

It will be the same for his toughest opposition in the rope and tie, Scone livestock agent Heath Nichols.

Nichols showed he is in form with a win at the Mt Isa Rodeo in the rope and tie and will go into the final in sixth place in the rope and tie and eighth in team roping header standings.

Like Kenny, Nichols missed the steer wrestling final when he finished 19th in the standings.

The four biggest threats to Kenny and Nichols in the battle for the all around title will be Victorian pair Terry Evison and Lee Kimber, and Central Queensland stars Errol Frain and Shane Iker.

Evison headed the all around standings at the end of the 2015-2016 APRA season from Kimber, Frain, Iker and Kenny.

At the national finals, Evison and Kimber will have the advantage of competing in three events.

Two to watch in Warwick will be Murrurindi (NSW) cowgirl Jo Caldwell and Cameron Milner from Rockhampton (Qld)  who won the all around titles at this month’s Mt Isa Rodeo.

Alton Downs (Qld) rider Jordan Iker won the second-division all around title at Mt Isa and could impress in the rope and tie in a field which will also include his father Shane.

While the timed event cowboys have won more APRA all around titles than the rough stock riders in recent  years, Brad Pierce and Cody Angland both have a chance this year.

Pierce, of Tooma, NSW, is the defending champion in saddle bronc and has qualified 10th in the saddle bronc and eighth in the bull ride.

Angland hails from Wantabadgery, NSW, and has qualified for saddle bronc in 12th place and bareback in eighth.

Riders carry over points from their pro tour success into The Warwick Rodeo National Finals so those in the top half of the standings have a better chance in the battle for title buckles.

The finals  format is designed so every rider in the top-15 has a chance to win a title but the reality is those well down the standings  will need to place in each of the four rounds in Warwick.

The top-15 in all eight championship points events will compete in rounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Warwick as well as a round on the Sunday. There will also be second-division and junior events.

APRA PROGRAM: September 3 – Xtreme Bulls, Dubbo, NSW; St Brendans College Rodeo, Yeppoon, Qld

September 10 – Xtreme Bulls, Albury, NSW; Bundaberg Rodeo, Qld

October 2 – Marrabel Rodeo, SA

October 27-30 – The Warwick Rodeo National Finals;  Warwick  Rodeo Second Division and Junior Events



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