Barrel racers vie for honours in final round
BARREL RACING: The winners of the Australian Barrel Horse Association Capricorn Coast circuit will be decided tomorrow and it's far from a two-horse race.
Competition will be fast and furious in the three divisions for open riders, the junior and senior youth and the 10 and under (led division, tiny tots and pee wees) divisions.
"This is the one that decides who is crowned champion,” co-ordinator Emma Stone said. "The top four competitors in each division are very close so it could go any way.”
Such is the case in the first division, where just 14 points separate first from fourth.
Amy Bean currently leads from Amber Patteson, Kim Hamilton and Tammy Neal.
In second division, Maree Prow is running first. She sits four points clear of Tori Volker with third-placed Casey Bean and Tammy Neal in fourth still well within striking distance.
"In the junior youth, we have a tie for first between Holly Cant and Casey Bean, with Makayla Patteson two points behind them,” Stone said.
"Holly Cant's sister Annalise is currently runner-up to Amy Bean in the senior youth.”
Stone said this was the closest run series to date.
"In past years, maybe one or two events are close but this year pretty much every event is so close it's hard to know who will take victory,” she said.
"The competition's getting tougher. Everybody's improving and the horses are getting better.
"Riders who have been doing it for a long time are getting better and better and the new people to the sport are improving out of sight.”
The series is run over about 18 rounds throughout the year and attracts on average about 80 riders.
Stone expects a similar number today.
"It will make for some great viewing. If you're into horses, it's a great spectator sport,” she said.
Riders will have extra incentive to perform well today.
For the first time, the three divisional champions will receive trophy saddles thanks to sponsorship from LDE Earthmoving.
Racing starts at 4pm at Lazy Acres at Alton Downs, entry is free for spectators.