Qld riders dominate rodeo standings
RIDERS from central Queensland and the Lockyer Valley head the battle for the breakaway roping pro tour title in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association.
Alton Downs cowgirl Jorja Watkins is the narrow leader on prizemoney in breakaway roping, from Mt Tarampa rider Cheyenne Whitwell.
Watkins was the leader in the all-around cowgirl standings after the Northern Run finished at Mt Isa in August, but has dropped back to seventh overall behind leader Cherie O'Donoghue, of Lockington, Victoria.
Originally from Springsure, Watkins is guaranteed a spot in the National Finals Rodeo at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre at Caboolture on May 1-4.
The top 15 for the finals will be finalised after the final eight rodeos of the APRA season on the Easter weekend.
Watkins is out of the top 15 in the barrel race, so will need to perform well in the next six weeks to make the finals in a second event and therefore be eligible to challenge for the all-around cowgirl title.
Whitwell boosted her spot in the breakaway roping standings with first in the final, first overall and second in round one at the Warwick Rodeo in October, one of the two richest in the APRA.
She was second at Deniliquin in New South Wales and fifth at Yarrawonga in Victoria on the Christmas Run.
Whitwell won titles galore as a junior and has the chance to win the pro tour breakaway roping buckle this year. But she will need a number of placings late in the season to beat Watkins, Victorian star Cherie O'Donoghue and Stephanie Gard from NSW.
Only $400 prizemoney splits the first four in breakaway roping.
It's the closest battle for a pro title in any of the eight APRA Championship Points events. Three central Queensland riders, Watkins and Emerald pair Shane Kenny and Clancy Middleton, head standings lists in the APRA.
Wandoan rough stock riders Cameron Webster and David Worsfold and Beaudesert bull rider Fraser Babbington are standings leaders and are favourites to win pro tour titles this season.
While Kenny is in a close battle with Alton Downs rider Shane Iker for the all-around cowboy pro tour title, he has an almost unbeatable lead in the race for the rope-and-tie title.
APRA April program: April 5 Comet Benefit Rodeo; April 18 Roma Bull Ride; April 19 Emerald; April 20 Roma.
Pro tour standings leaders
- All around - Shane Kenny (Emerald, Queensland)
- Saddle bronc - Cameron Webster (Wandoan, Queensland)
- Bull ride - Fraser Babbington (Beaudesert, Queensland)
- Bareback - David Worsfold (Wandoan, Queensland)
- Rope-and-tie - Shane Kenny (Emerald, Queensland)
- Steer wrestling - Gavin Walker (Benalla, Vic)
- Team roping header - Clancy Middleton (Emerald, Queensland)
- Team roping heeler - Aaron Bookluck (Nilma North, Vic)
- All-around cowgirl - Cherie O'Donoghue (Lockington, Vic)
- Barrel race - Nichole Fitzpatrick (Willow Tree, NSW)
- Breakaway roping - Jorja Watkins (Alton Downs, Qld)