Barrel riders ready for US trip
GYMPIE competitors in the Australian National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) series, Kathy Kunst and Tamika Anderson, have qualified to represent Australia in the US later this year.
Kunst, 25, and Anderson, 13, took part in the final round of the hotly-contested NBHA series in Caboolture last weekend.
Kunst took out the highest point winner in the open fourth division while Anderson qualified for the chance to compete abroad as a junior.
The event in Caboolture was the culmination of nearly 30 events throughout Australia.
While it’s not the first time Anderson has gone to America to compete, having made her maiden trip last year, Kunst is thrilled to have made her first Australian team.
“It’s my first time and I’m really excited about going,” she said.
“I had an idea I had won the highest points but I had to wait until it was made official during the presentation after competition,” she said.
Australian competitors in the open age category will be heading to the United States in late October.
In America, Kunst will travel to Perry, Georgia for the NBHA World Championships where she will be tested by some of the world’s best talent.
Anderson, meanwhile, will travel to Jackson, Mississippi for the NBHA Youth Championships in late July.
Kunst said Australian competitors would be renting horses to compete.
“I hope to get over there six weeks before competition so I can have some time to select a horse,” she said.
Kunst’s partner, Brett Cummings, has been involved in bull riding for the last three years and has been a rock of support.
“Brett has a lot of contacts in the United States from his bull riding, so that will be a massive help in tracking down the right horse,” Kunst said.
In choosing the right horse, Kunst says she is looking for a number of qualities, including speed and “a quick turn”.
“I’m planning to compete in a number of regional events over there to try the horses out,” she said.
“The horse can be completely different in a competition setting, so it’s important to do those events.”
Kunst is still coming to terms with her latest achievement, but says she is not overwhelmed.
“I’ve been competing since I was 14 and I don’t get nervous,” she said.
Training in the lead up to the world event is no problems for either Gympie competitor, with plenty of dedication pushing them to bigger and better things.