Aus­tralia’s ‘most fa­mous’ rodeo kicks off next week

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page -

UN­DER­NEATH the sparkle and glam­our of this year’s Warwick Rodeo Queen is a true-blue cow­girl.

Lau­ren McKen­zie claimed the crown at a glam­orous week­end func­tion and she said she was still in shock over the win.

“It’s still sink­ing in and as more time goes by I’m start­ing to re­alise I won the queen ti­tle,” Lau­ren said.

Rush­ing into a jam-packed rodeo week, the newly in­ducted royal is pre­par­ing for her du­ties. Thank­fully, she isn’t afraid to get a bit of dirt un­der her fin­ger­nails.

Grow­ing up in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, she comes from a long line of cat­tle drovers.

“My grandma raised my mum and her broth­ers on a cat­tle sta­tion in the Ter­ri­tory,” Lau­ren said.

“They were home schooled and they are just the strong­est women I know.”

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony Ms McKen­zie held back tears when thank­ing her mother, Patch Smith.

“She’s the tough­est woman I know. She’s al­ways sup­port­ing me and my sis­ter,” she said.

“Ev­ery­thing we do – polocrosse, show jump­ing, bar­rel rac­ing – she’s al­ways by our sides.”

Lau­ren grew up on a 647ha cat­tle sta­tion 50km out of Dar­win and there was al­ways a lot of work to do.

“We were al­ways do­ing some­thing,” she said.

“It was al­ways Mum, Dad, a team of men and the dogs.”

Now liv­ing on a 35ha farm at Al­lora, she still has her fam­ily by her side.

“My mother and my part­ner are my big­gest helpers,” Lau­ren said.

“They were al­ways there and will still be there to help with my horses while I’m busy as Rodeo Queen.”

The 2018 queen is ex­cited for the big year ahead.

“It’s go­ing to be a very busy year but ev­ery­one is ready to take it as it comes,” Lau­ren said.

She also took home the ti­tle for best horse­man­ship and over­all fundraiser for the money raised through bar­rel rac­ing events, sausage siz­zles and raf­fles.

The Warwick Rodeo will be held at the Warwick Show­grounds from Oc­to­ber 22–28.

❝It’s go­ing to­bea very busy year but ev­ery­one is ready to take it as it comes.

— Lau­ren McKen­zie

PHOTO: NI­COLE ZURCAS

CROWNED: Lau­ren McKen­zie is still in shock over her win.

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