A vic­tory for bar­rel rac­ing

South Waikato News - - NEWS / SPORT - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

A win in the Sport Waikato Sec­ondary School Sports Awards is a vic­tory for the sport of bar­rel rac­ing, ac­cord­ing to Caitlin McPher­son.

The 16-year old bar­rel racer won the Waikato SS Eques­trian Sportswoman of the Year award.

‘‘It was amaz­ing, I was sit­ting there and I was like, nah I’m not go­ing to win.’’

This as well as the nom­i­na­tion for Sportswoman of the Year at the South Waikato Sports Awards will hope­fully con­trib­ute to the growth of the sport, she said.

‘‘It’s just cool to think a dif­fer­ent sport can be recog­nised.’’

Sport Waikato re­gional sports di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Parkes said it was ‘‘ex­tremely dif­fi­cult’’ to be­come one of up to three fi­nal­ists in each code.

‘‘I’m con­stantly amazed by the tal­ent of our Waikato stu­dents. Our fi­nal­ists in­clude a Par­a­lympian, a Tall Fern, Touch Black and an Ice Fern. Th­ese young peo­ple are sur- pass­ing age- group hon­ours and achiev­ing at the high­est level, a credit to their hard work and re­silience.’’

McPher­son took up the sport as a tough spir­ited 4-year-old and she has lived in her rodeo boots ever since.

The Lich­field teenager was se­lected to rep­re­sent New Zealand in the High School Rodeo Chal­lenge in Aus­tralia.

McPher­son placed first in the first round, third in the sec­ond, and fifth in the third round, which con­trib­uted to the team’s to­tal points.

Though the New Zealand team did not place in the Au­gust com­pe­ti­tion she said the ex­pe­ri­ence was price­less.

‘‘You had to learn how to ride with dif­fer­ent horses, you had to adapt to them.’’

She said the sport was ‘‘huge’’ com­pared to New Zealand and said there were hun­dreds of com­peti­tors.

McPher­son hoped to make the New Zealand squad again and even­tu­ally win an open ti­tle.

Rid­ing suc­cess: Caitlin McPher­son was se­lected for Eques­trian of the Year at the Sport Waikato Sec­ondary School Awards.

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