RID­ING HIGH

Cowgirl’s 10th Aus­tralian ti­tle seals her place in Hall of Fame

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE -

LOCK­ING­TON cowgirl Cherie O’Donoghue has some more sil­ver­ware to add to her sad­dle af­ter be­ing crowned the Aus­tralian break­ing rop­ing cham­pion.

At the Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion (APRA) na­tional fi­nals in Queens­land, O’Donoghue won her 10th Aus­tralian ti­tle and se­cured her place in the APRA Hall of Fame for the most na­tional ti­tles over­all.

O’Donoghue said her love of horses and ac­tion events was in­stilled in her by her fa­ther, Des, a Ka­ma­rooka farmer and horse breeder with ‘a big mob of horses’.

She grew up sur­rounded by horses and re­mem­bers spend­ing most week­ends be­ing hauled to agri­cul­tural shows and gymkhanas where the speed events were al­ways the highlight for her.

“I just loved go­ing fast on a horse,” she said. “I was never one for the dres­sage ring — the ac­tion events were al­ways my thing.”

At age five she com­peted in her first rodeo at Calivil, Vic­to­ria, in the ju­nior bar­rel race.

But she didn’t take up the sport of rodeo com­pet­i­tively un­til the age of 21 when she be­gan trav­el­ling and com­pet­ing reg­u­larly in three events: the bar­rel race, break­away rop­ing and team rop­ing.

O’Donoghue has now won six all­round cowgirl cham­pion ti­tles and four break­away rop­ing ti­tles and said she was hum­bled and proud of her achieve­ments.

“To be in the com­pany of the Hall of Fame cham­pi­ons of the sport is just such an hon­our,” she said.

“It’s taken a lot of ef­fort and com­mit­ment to get to this point and there are days where you would rather be any­where else in the world than the heat and the dust of the prac­tice pen, but it makes it worth it when it pays off.

“I’ve had some horses which were nat­u­ral ath­letes and oth­ers which took a bit of time to reach their full po­ten­tial but it’s all part of the jour­ney, and I’m al­ways re­ally grate­ful for a win.”

The na­tional fi­nals — and rodeo in gen­eral — are a fam­ily af­fair for O’Donoghue.

Her part­ner, Lee Kim­ber, qual­i­fied for the this year’s APRA na­tional fi­nals in the steer wrestling, rope and tie and team rop­ing events and was run­ner-up for the steer wrestling ti­tle.

O’Donoghue’s son, Beau, 8, is just start­ing his rodeo ca­reer in the ju­nior bar­rel race and her two sis­ters and two nieces also com­pete reg­u­larly on the rodeo cir­cuit.

“It’s nice to have that sup­port net­work there at the rodeos you go to, par­tic­u­larly when you are trav­el­ling across the coun­try to get to events,” she said.

I was never one for the dres­sage ring — the ac­tion events were al­ways my thing.’

— Cherie O’Donoghue

Photo: Luke He­mer

Cherie O’Donoghue is an Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion Hall of Fame in­ductee af­ter win­ning her 10th Aus­tralian ti­tle.

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