Kakanui rodeo rider aiming high

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Rodeo rider Micayla Brenssell was awarded a sporting pennant on Friday night during the St Kevin’s College Sports Awards ceremony in recognition of her achievements in barrel racing last season.

Brenssell and her 14-year-old mare, Trixie, were placed 5th in the New Zealand rookie competition and 11th overall in the open competition.

She said both competitions were based on how much money was won in prizes, and in December last year, she had reached the $2000 threshold as a rookie and progressed to the open competition.

Brenssell was also asked to trial for the New Zealand secondary school team that competes in Australia and was chosen as a reserve. There were only three places in the team.

The 18-year-old from Kakanui speaks highly of her horse and the pair have completed three seasons on the rodeo circuit.

“She’s brought me up through the places,” Brenssell said.

“She’s really stepped up for the open competition.”

Qualifying to compete in the open finals in March next year means being ranked in the top eight in New Zealand, a goal which Brenssell said was well within her sights.

“I want to make the finals with her (Trixie) before she retires.

“It’s a realistic goal.

“We knocked over a drum at Omarama last year, which added a five-second penalty to our time – that knocked me back in the overall placings.”

Rodeo has to pay its way, according to Brenssell, who travelled extensively with companion Katey Hill last season. The pair were away for most of the summer, competing at Millers Flat, Omarama, Te Anau, Wanaka and Canterbury, and then made the trip north to Whangarei for a two-day rodeo.

“We were both going so well and we both wanted to make finals, but it just didn’t work out.

“We wanted to compete at Whangarei because it was a two-day event and it was good experience.

“Rodeo is really addictive, not just the competitive side, but the people that are around you too.

“Whenever I go out there, I go out to do the best run I can.”

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

DRESSED IN PINK: Competitive Oamaru barrel racer, Micayla Brenssell.