Bar­rel racer rides for NZ

Tak­ing the Aussies on

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

When rodeo fa­natic Caitlin McPher­son rep­re­sents her coun­try this month she won’t sport­ing a slick black uni­form.

The cham­pion bar­rel racer is stick­ing to her jeans, check­ered shirt and, you guessed it, rodeo boots.

She took the sport up as a tough spir­ited four- year- old and has pretty much lived in those fa­mous boots ever since.

But as they say, ded­i­ca­tion and hard work pays off and the talented Lichfield teenager has been se­lected to rep­re­sent New Zealand in the High School Rodeo Chal­lenge in Aus­tralia.

The 16-year-old tom-boy is one of 12 rac­ers na­tion­wide who will head across the Tas­man on Au­gust 29 to com­pete in the first of three bat­tles against their Aus­tralian ri­vals.

How it all be­gan is a bit of a blur for McPher­son whose mother tells her she was on horse­back by the age of 2.

She quickly mas­tered the art of rac­ing a clover­leaf pat­tern around three bar­rels as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Yet it wasn’t un­til 2009, when she came runner- up in the na­tional ju­nior bar­relling ti­tle, that she re­alised she had a bit of knack for it.

‘‘The next year I won it,’’ she said.

Last sea­son she ranked up from ju­nior to sec­ond di­vi­sion where she needed to win a to­tal of $2000 to rank up to open.

With rather full pock­ets for a teenager she ad­mit­ted she ‘‘didn’t stay in there for very long’’.

She said once you break into open you re­main there for the rest of your bar­rel rac­ing ca­reer which McPher­son hopes will be a long one.

Her only dis­ap­point­ment was that the race is over within 17 seconds.

Aside from the uni­form, there were a few other quirky el­e­ments to the un­ortho­dox sport.

‘‘If you don’t have your hat on at the end then when you go to pick it up you have to give a gold coin do­na­tion. So I just wear a hel­met.’’

Those are the sort of smarts that will serve her well when she heads off to Aus­tralia to rep­re­sent her coun­try.

She said she had great sup­port with a $250 do­na­tion from both Pu­taruru and Toko­roa Farm­lands and a $500 grant from the South Waikato Su­perS­ports Trust.


Caitlin McPher­son is fear­less when on the bar­rel rac­ing track.

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