Louise Charlton is a keen recent starter in the Barrel Race in the Young Guns series.
Louise Charlton is a keen recent starter in the Barrel Race in the Young Guns series. Sharyn Oneill

Charlton's ready for tough ride

IT HAS to be a comfort to stricken cowboys to know that Louise Charlton is not too far away.

While Charlton is making her way up the ladder in rodeo as a barrel racer, it is her skills as a registered nurse that could be useful in a sport where competitors and injuries are frequent companions.

Even better she usually works in the hospital's Emergency Department, the first port of call for a cowboy who has suffered an unhappy landing.

“I usually get called in to help,” she said.

However it was not her professional ability that convinced Charlton to try rodeo, but her love of horses.

On Friday night she will take part in the Barrel Race at the Great Western's Nissan Navara Arena and hopes to steer her horse Bud into one of the top placings.

Charlton said she recently moved to Rockhampton with the thought in mind of working with horses.

“I just enjoy working the horses,” she said, “ I've always had a horse.”

Bud is a 10-year-old horse and currently Charlton is really getting to know him as she only bought him six months ago.

“We are slowly getting it together,” she said.

The sport of barrel racing requires precision with riders trying to get their horse tight into each barrel while travelling at speed and not knocking any over in the process.

Charlton said mistakes can happen when a rider pushes too hard resulting in the loss of a fraction of a second or worse a five-second penalty if the barrel is over-turned.

At the Nissan Navara Arena it can be even tougher as barrels are close to the barrier making it a tight turn for horse and rider.

“When it is tight it works better for the horses with shorter strides,” she said. “You need a ‘Pocket Rocket' horse.”

While keen to get out and compete in the Barrel Race in The Paul Archer and the Good Guys Young Guns series, Charlton knows the competition is tough.

Tomorrow is just the second round of the Barrel Race with promising cowboys as well as cowgirls competing for series points.

In the inaugural race last month the fastest around the circuit was Leah Morgan and she will again prove tough to beat.

While the Barrel Race was introduced into the second round of the 2011 series, for other divisions of competition this is round three.

Stock contractor Brian Duggan said even he is surprised at the support the series receives from spectators.

“It is better supported than the CRCA at the moment,” he said.

A lot of work has gone into the Young Guns as it is the development program for youngsters wishing to compete in rodeo in Central Queensland.

Not all the Young Guns are teenagers. Duggan said a 33-year-old miner has recently taken up riding bulls and is loving being a part of the rodeo.

However the one to beat in the Bull Ride is Trent Maguire who was the winner of the last round.

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