LOCKINGTON cowgirl Cherie O’Donoghue has qualified for the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals on October 26-29 at the Warwick Showgrounds in Queensland.
Cowgirls from New South Wales and Victoria finished ahead of the best from Queensland in the battle for pro tour supremacy in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association this season.
Rodeos at Bundaberg in Queensland and Mt Hunter in New South Wales heralded the end of the season in the APRA.
The top-15 in each of the eight championship events qualified for the national finals. Second-division and junior events will also be held at the Warwick Rodeo.
In the battle for the all-around cowgirl title, Murrurundi (NSW) rider Jo Caldwell secured the end of season buckle with a win in the barrel race at the K Ranch Rodeo at Mt Hunter.
She won narrowly from O’Donoghue who was second in breakaway roping at K Ranch.
The 2016 all-around cowgirl title winner Shianne O’Donoghue-Kent from Bunyip in Victoria was third in the all-around pro tour standings this season.
Caldwell finished the season on top of the barrel racing standings with a clear victory from runner-up, Emerald (Qld) rider Jaimi Downing, and O’Donoghue-Kent.
In breakaway roping, O’Donoghue was first in the standings at the end of the season after a late-season surge put her ahead of Emerald rider Leanne Caban who led for most of the season.
O’Donoghue, a multiple past title winner in the APRA, was first in round one, second in the final and first overall in breakaway roping at the richest rodeo in Australia at Mt Isa in August.
The only Queensland multiple winner in cowboy events was Shane Iker who won the rope and tie and steer wrestling at the Amber Ranch Rodeo at Bundaberg.
At Mt Hunter, Scone rider Heath Nichols won the steer wrestling and combined with Clay Bush from Yass to win the team roping.
APRA competitors will now have a break from competition until the national finals in Warwick at the end of October.