Grammar girls tough in pink

WHEN Jorja Watkins flew around the third barrel in the Open Barrel Race on Saturday at the Great Western Indoor Arena, she was on her way towards an appropriate victory.

The “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Bulls and Barrels Rodeo was organised by the Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School to raise funds in the fight against breast cancer.

Therefore when Watkins produced her wonder ride to sail into the lead for the event, with a time of 12.08 seconds, she received extra applause as she is a former student of the RGGS.

Not that the win was clear-cut, as Joelene Gleeson had appeared to have recorded a similar time which the judges had queried, eventually awarding her the runner-up spot.

Once again the barrel racers gave the massive crowd full value for their entry fee with incredible mastery over their large animals.

As always, there was a mixture of success and hard luck stories littering the result sheet for the Open race, with experienced riders, some trying out less experienced horses, and rookie riders competing against one another.

Alton Downs flyer Alleisha Priddle normally makes the Great Western her winning ground, but on Saturday she was a little off the pace, running third and almost 0.4 seconds slower than the winner.

The experienced Maree Prow took herself out of contention when incurring a five-second penalty for knocking over a barrel.

Star rookie Jema Slotosch suffered a similar fate, but she had adequate compensation as she was the clear winner of the Junior Barrel Race.

The teenager was in total control to complete the tight course in a quick time of 12.173 seconds, a time that would have earned her a place in the Open Race.

While Emma Benjamin, who was second, and third-placed Kiah Barney deserved the applause they received, the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for Braden Elliot, Riley Elliot and Tanika Hockings.

The three are very much in the junior class of rider and were led through the course by an adult as each proudly manoeuvred their way around the three barrels.

Forget the times - the smiles on the faces of the youngsters proved each one was a winner.

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