OFF AND RACING: Gympie barrel racers Canada's Hailey Crockford, USA's Kaelei Trudeau, Australia's Alicia Ellis, New Zealand's April Fletcher, Canada's Amy Newman, USA's Mikayleigh Hitchings, Australia's Ashleigh Koch and New Zealand's Sky Sanders.
OFF AND RACING: Gympie barrel racers Canada's Hailey Crockford, USA's Kaelei Trudeau, Australia's Alicia Ellis, New Zealand's April Fletcher, Canada's Amy Newman, USA's Mikayleigh Hitchings, Australia's Ashleigh Koch and New Zealand's Sky Sanders. Troy Jegers

Gympie Show hosts global contest for young riders

Horses: Gympie's avid barrel racers will have the chance to see the best in the business vie for the International Under-18 Barrel Racing crown at the Gympie Show today, tomorrow and Saturday.

Eight riders, aged from 11 to 17, and hailing from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, were invited to show off their considerable talent in Gympie.

This is the second time Gympie has hosted this event and this year sees the inclusion of the Canadian team.

Barrel Racing steward Lisa Robinson organised for Gympie to host the event.

AUS barrel race team - Ashleigh Koch and Alicia Ellis
AUS barrel race team - Ashleigh Koch and Alicia Ellis Troy Jegers

"My daughter was the Australian representative to travel overseas for barrel racing and I wanted the youth of Australia to see that it was possible to compete at this level,” she said.

"I put it to the committee and when I put it (proposal) up and showed them the budget that I could do, we went from there.”

USA barrel racing team - Kaelei Trudeau and Mikaleigh Hitchings
USA barrel racing team - Kaelei Trudeau and Mikaleigh Hitchings Troy Jegers

The United States riders the favourites for the event as they hope to continue their undefeated streak, but the Australian representatives will try to bring that statistic to an end.

"We are competing all three days and I am so excited,” Australian representative Alicia Ellis said.

"I hope we can beat the Americans this year.”

NZ barrel racing team - Sky Sanders and April Fletcher
NZ barrel racing team - Sky Sanders and April Fletcher Troy Jegers

United States barrel racer Kaelei Trudeau said there was a bit of pressure to continue the winning streak.

"USA has not lost yet and that I could have gone the whole weekend without hearing,” she said.

"There is a little bit of pressure but it is friendly. I am a little nervous but it will get done.”

Canadian barrel racing team- Hailey Crockford and Amy Newman
Canadian barrel racing team- Hailey Crockford and Amy Newman Troy Jegers

The barrel riders will not be riding their own horses for the racing and returning New Zealand competitor Sky Sanders is excited for the challenge.

"Basically, it is about the experience for me. Riding other horses, I am confident doing that because I trust horses,” she said. "If they are calm outside the arena, then I am fine. When I meet the horse, I will make sure it is calm. If you are calm, then the horse will be because they feed off you.”

First time competitor Canadian representative Amy Newman has been barrel racing since she was eight and enjoys that it is based only off your time.”

Gympie Times


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