Two talented riders from our region are leading the way in the national rodeo standings after a dominant showing at Australia’s biggest rodeo event last month.
The rodeo season is coming to a close and Candy Michaelis from Lewiston and Amanda Tielen from Eden Valley are sitting in first and second place respectively in the barrel racing category.
Tielen has had an impressive year, culminating in her taking out the coveted All Round Cowgirl Award at Mt Isa Rodeo last month for her consistent performance; coming 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in events throughout the day.
This was the first time in 18 years that Tielen has travelled to Mt Isa to compete and said it was the highlight of her year so far.
“Mt Isa is the biggest paying rodeo in Australia, it’s a pretty big deal,” said Tielen.
Ms Tielen, who works in the wine industry and does rodeo in her spare time, has been competing for about 25 years.
“When I bought my first horse, the owners I bought it off were involved in the sport,” Tielen said.
“I’ve found that it’s a very tight knit community. It’s very family and friend orientated.”
These successes are made more significant by the fact that they're competing against field of almost entirely Queensland and New South Wales riders.
“South Australia is not the biggest rodeo state. We have probably only five or six events every year in South Australia,” said Tielen.
“In the sport, barrel racing is one of the toughest events because when you have a horse that’s good enough to do it you have to take seize that opportunity when it arises.
“Nearly everybody we know has a day-job and it’s not a sport that you can make money out of living down here.”
Candy Michaelis currently holds the Australian Processional Rodeo Association (APRA) record of 1.75 seconds for breakaway roping which was set at the Kapunda Rodeo in 2015.
With a month or so left in the rodeo season both riders will need some luck to bring the barrel racing pro tour title home to South Australia.
Regardless, both are guaranteed a spot in the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals which will pit the top 15 of each event into four rounds on October 24-28.