TOUGH ENOUGH: Jema Slotosch is Saturday night’s favourite in the barrel race at the Great Western Arena.
TOUGH ENOUGH: Jema Slotosch is Saturday night’s favourite in the barrel race at the Great Western Arena. Chris Ison

Jema set to fire both barrels

A FIERY, muscular rodeo barrel racing rider aggressively enters in the arena of competition.

Isn't that how a rodeo competitor should be?

Apparently not.

Instead, petite, blue-eyed, blonde Jema Slotosch gracefully walks into the rodeo ring.

But don't let her looks fool you.

She will be getting rough at the Tough Enough to Wear Pink bull riding and barrel racing competition tomorrow night at the Great Western Arena.

The 17-year-old already has an impressive track record in barrel racing, currently leading in the junior division.

Slotosch has made a leap from showjumping in recent years to barrel racing and has built herself up strongly.

She will join about 70 other male and female competitors who will all do themselves up in pink for the event - including the men.

The event is to help the campaign against breast cancer, where profits will be split between Rockhampton Grammar School and the Breast Cancer Foundation.

The Great Western Arena will put some extra pressure on the competitors with its tight indoor course.

Slotosch said her horse, “Sassy-Oak”, prefers the bigger outdoor arenas.

“It is harder to ride a horse in a smaller arena,” she said.

“It is such a tight course, but if you are experienced enough you should be fine.”

Slotosch is a favourite for the night along with Alleisha Priddle and Maree Prow, who also are expected to put on a show.

The event will see the girls in a fast and tight race where they are to weave through three drums in a clover-leaf pattern.

If a competitor knocks over a barrel it is a five-second penalty, which could easily determine the winner.

At last year's event 2000 eager spectators gathered and rodeo organiser Brian Duggan said this year should be no different.

“Most of the riders will also be wearing pink, and we've other bonus prizes like Best Dressed Cowboy and Best Dressed Cowgirl.”

“And we also will be having Man Eater back again this year as the Tough Enough to Wear Pink bull.”

Duggan said Man Eater would be dyed pink in the spirit of the night and the riders would have their chance to ride the beast.

For those who have not heard of the infamous Man Eater he is not called that for nothing, and is one of the toughest bulls in Queensland.

Hardly two months ago the bull's horn pierced rider Andrew Revett's throat.

So don't be misguided by the pretty pink coat he will wear for his Saturday night out.

The bull riders will also have their work cut out for them, with Brett Cross expected as a standout competitor.

The competition will be the last before the Central Rodeo Cowboy Association finals.

“This is our last show before our CRCA finals, so it is starting to get a bit competitive.”

Duggan said the champions at tomorrow night's event would be a good indicator of who would take out the finals.

Slotosch is expected to claim the junior title, sending her strongly into the Open Ladies division next year.



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