Australian High School Rodeo Association national finals return to Murrurundi this weekend

READY FOR ACTION: AHSRA competitors and volunteers converged on Murrurundi's Rosedale Complex in 2018. The action returns this weekend. Photo: Andrew Roberts
READY FOR ACTION: AHSRA competitors and volunteers converged on Murrurundi's Rosedale Complex in 2018. The action returns this weekend. Photo: Andrew Roberts

IT'S a chance to witness events that are not usually held in Australia, such as goat tying and bareback steer riding, and it's on again in Murrurundi. 

The Australian High School Rodeo Association (AHSRA) national finals return to the Rosedale Complex this weekend with around 40 students from across Australia, including a handful of locals, vying for a spot on the Australian team to compete in the United States this winter. 

Students will try their hand at events like saddle bronc steer riding, bull riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, ribbon roping, chute dogging, pole bending and more.

The top four competitors in each event automatically earn their ticket to America, with junior competitors (Year 6 to 8) qualifying to compete in South Dakota and the top high school finalists (Year 9 to 12) heading off to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

All the action kicks off at 9am on Saturday, with round two from 2pm and the finals at 9am on Sunday. Action is expected to wrap up just before lunch.

Vice president of the association Matt Attenborough said the event is a great introduction for younger kids and for some it will be their first opportunity to represent Australia abroad.

"You're looking at 1100 competitors in the junior high and 1300 competitors in the senior high over there," he said. 

"It's so impressive, I was blown away by it the first time I went.

"For some of the kids it will be their first opportunity to go this year and they'll be blown away."

Murrurundi will also play host to the junior bull riding qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on the Friday night, which was won by Scone's Chris Wilson last year.

Wilson, who's gone up an age group this year, will be looking to retain his title. 

"We're having a round of junior bulls just as an introduction for the weekend and as an extra round," Attenborough said. 

"There's five rounds, and Friday night is one of them.

"The highest point scorer out of those five rounds will get the chance to go to Las Vegas and ride in the junior NFR.

"We have a few other locals competing and kids coming from Townsville and down near the Victorian border to participate in the High School Finals as well.

"So the weekend has worked out as a good double header for them."

The association is hoping the Vegas qualifier will become a regular occurrence in Murrurundi, however the AHSRA finals, which were held locally for the first time last year, are switched to a new location every two years. 

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