Rodeo victory for CQ cowgirl
DON'T underestimate our Australian cowgirls, New Zealand.
What started out as an innocent holiday in New Zealand quickly escalated into Rachael Behan being crowned Barrel Racing champion of the Gisborne Rodeo on December 27.
The Rockhampton girl competed in two rodeos in two days on a horse “Thunderstruck” she had never ridden and in a country she had never visited before.
But that didn’t stop her from stirring up the dust.
After Behan borrowed “Thunderstruck” off a fellow New Zealand competitor, Courtney Haitana, she jumped on to compete in her first rodeo of 2009, the Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo.
Behan said she was nervous as she had not competed competitively in the sport for more than three years.
“I placed fifth in that, I did a pretty good run and then I adapted to the horse. I got a few ideas on what to do for the second rodeo in Gisborne,” she said.
Despite not placing at the Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo Behan went east to Gisborne the following day and stepped up as the last competitor for the open barrel race division.
The Rocky girl took the crowd - and herself - by surprise when she won the event at 15.99 seconds in front of Lisa Tahau in second at 16.28 seconds.
“I didn’t expect to win because I had not competed in a rodeo for a long time as I had taken a break because I was focused on my Human Movements Science degree at university,” she said.
“I had not ridden the horse before that either – and that doesn’t happen often.”
Behan said herself and Courtney Haitana, owner of “Thunderstruck”, both mounted the same horse in both events.
“You can’t do that in Australia – you are not allowed to. It also made it hard because I didn’t know the horse,” she said.
Behan said the win had now motivated her to start competing again in this year’s competitions in Australia.
“I do it just for fun but at the same time you have to be competitive,” she said.
“I have got a little mare that I want to train up - she hasn’t done much really - but I am keen to get started on her.
“I have that adrenaline feeling for it again.”