Siblings breakaway from event
RODEO: This year's Ensham Resources Rodeo and Australian Junior National Finals will be the final year that three local siblings are able to compete alongside each other before 17-year-old Ellysa Kenny is eligible to enter the tournament's open events next year.
Ellysa's father and Emerald Rodeo Association president Shane Kenny said his three children - Ellysa, 17, Tyler, 13, and Jayden, 11 - were "excited” for this year's events and finals being held on June 21-22.
He said Ellysa would be competing in the breakaway roping, junior team roping and junior barrel race; Tyler in the junior breakaway and junior team roping; and Jayden - who is recovering from a broken arm - in the junior team roping and junior breakaway.
"This will be the last time all three will be in all the events as Ellysa is in the open category next year so they're all pretty excited. They've done a heap together.
"Your home-town rodeo is always the hardest one to win!
"Elyssa won the all round open championship in Warwick two years ago, she's right into it,” Mr Kenny said.
"They've been pretty much doing it ever since they could get on a horse.”
Mr Kenny said other Central Highlands competitors to watch included brother and sister Maddison Caban, 13, and Clay Caban, 16, from Emerald who will both be competing in the junior breakaway. Madison will also contest the junior barrel race and Clay will be in the team roping event.
Dray Hutchins, 16, also from Emerald will be competing in the junior breakaway and junior team roping events.
Mr Kenny said that as under-18 competitors worked their way through the junior ranks they "learn to lose” and as they get older they often become very competitive and want to win.
"It teaches them a lot of life skills, and they've probably been to more towns and cities than most adults.
"They get to travel around and meet all different people and, no doubt, they'll get the chance to go overseas and compete in the future.”
He said two rounds of the event would be held on Friday night, June 20, and entry was via a gold coin donation with gates opening at 5pm.
"So if you're sitting around with nothing to do check it out and you'll be in for a good night's entertainment.”
The final rounds of the competition - which attract about 50 junior competitors and are being held in Emerald for the fifth year - and the awarding of the 2019 Australian Junior Champions and rodeo will be from 5pm on Saturday, June 22.
There is also $20,000 in prize money that is divided among winners and place-getters.
"We've got a few local people with big chances to win, and there's five girls that are all currently winning open barrel races so there's quite a bit of horsepower in the kids there, so I think it will be very tight,” Mr Kenny said.
"It always comes down to hundreds of tenths of a second so it will be interesting.
"The kids in the roping events could go anywhere. There's 10 kids in there who can probably rope as good as the adults so it comes down to a bit of a mental game as to who's going to step up and take charge. It's pretty interesting to sit back and watch them all compete and see how it unfolds.
"There can always be a different scenario within the space of a heartbeat.”
The fifth presentation dinner on Thursday, June 20, is a private function for all Junior Finalists which gives competitors a chance to meet sponsors. Mr Kenny said the association had also received a State Government grant of about $25,000 which had been used for a new PA system.
Tickets for Saturday are available at the gate, $5-$20.