By Ben Hope
BUNYIP teenager Shianne O’Donoghue-Kent proved she was as good as competitors twice her age when she competed as the youngest Ladies Barrels competitor in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) National Rodeo finals on the Gold Coast last weekend.
Competing in her first national finals the 14-year-old secured strong times in each round of the close-scoring competition.
Shianne’s mother, Ruth, who was with her on the Gold Coast, said the finals had been a great experience.
“Shianne was rapt just to be in the finals and the competition was really tough,” she said. “For her first national finals she did really well.
“She went well and sat in the middle of the field for most of the rounds until she knocked a barrel in her final run and that put her back a bit.”
The APRA national finals were held indoors at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 January.
“Moses is best on a slightly larger course – about 18 seconds or so – but with the rodeo inside the convention centre they were a bit restricted with space,” Ruth said.
Shianne’s auntie and five-time Australian All-Round Cowgirl winner Cherie O’Donoghue was also competing in the ladies barrels event and took third in the barrel race and the team roping as well as being runner-up for the all-round cow girl.
“Shianne was right up there with the rest of us for most of the competition, and as the youngest competitor at her first national finals, she did really well,” Ms O’Donoghue said.
“The winning time in most rounds was about 13.80 and Shianne was coming in around 14.00, so she was right up there but just out of the money.
“The barrel racing was a really tough competition with only two-10ths of a second separating the field so you couldn’t afford to make any mistakes,” she said.
As the reigning APRA junior champion, Australian Quarter Horse Association junior champion and Victorian junior title-holder Shianne has also recently started practising roping with her auntie but is not yet ready to compete in the event.
She is now looking forward to working with her young horse Cool as well as the Cranbourne Rodeo in February, where she first competed 10 years ago at the age of four.
By Ben Hope