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Rodeo family focused on getting through to national finals

TEAMWORK: Murray and Thomas Whitwell in action.
TEAMWORK: Murray and Thomas Whitwell in action. Contributed

THREE members of the Whitwell family from Mt Tarampa in the Lockyer Valley are likely to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre at Caboolture on May 1-4.

While eight rodeos remain in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association season, Murray Whitwell is in 11th position in team roping header standings and at short odds to make the top-15 and finals.

His son Thomas is 10th in team roping heeler standings.

The father-and-son combination train and compete together and both need to finish in the top 15 in their individual categories to combine in the NFR. Once the top 15 is decided, the riders arrange their own partners for the one team event in rodeo.

Murray's daughter Cheyenne is a certainly to feature in the breakaway roping final, she leads the race for the pro tour title and is assured of a position in the top 15.

She has been second and third in breakaway roping standings in recent months, before taking a $225 lead on prizemoney from Alton Downs rider Jorja Watkins after winning the Kyabram Rodeo in Victoria, one of three rodeos on the long weekend down south.

Cheyenne is fifth in all around cowgirl standings and the top Queenslander behind leader Stephanie Gard from Tabletop in southern New South Wales.

While she has won prizemoney in the barrel race to qualify for the all around standings, Cheyenne is unlikely to qualify in the top-15 for the barrel race in the May NFR at Caboolture.

The success of the three family members is an outstanding effort which included a trip south for the Christmas Run in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Murray and Thomas started the run well with a second placing on Boxing Day at Myrtleford in Victoria.

Standings leaders

All around cowboy/rope and tie - Shane Kenny (Emerald, Qld)

Saddle bronc - Cameron Webster (Wandoan, Qld)

Bull ride - Fraser Babbington (Beaudesert, Qld)

Bareback bronc ride - David Worsfold (Wandoan, Qld)

Steer wrestling - Gavin Walker (Benalla, Vic)

Team roping header - Casey Lillyman (Gunnedah, NSW)

Team roping heeler - Aaron Bookluck (Nilma North, Vic)

All around cowgirl - Stephanie Gard (Tabletop, NSW)

Barrel race - Nichole Fitzpatrick (Willow Tree, NSW)

Breakaway roping - Cheyenne Whitwell (Mt Tarampa, Qld)

Rodeo program

April 18 Great Western (Vic), Roma (Qld) Bull Ride;

April 19 Tallangatta (Vic), Omeo (Vic), Emerald (Qld);

April 20 Roma (Qld), Buchan (Vic);

April 21 Lang Lang (Vic);

May 1-2 (day time) Junior National Finals Rodeo at Caboolture

May 1-4 National Finals Rodeo at Caboolture.

NFR Session times: May 1, 6pm; May 2, 6pm; May 3, 4pm; May 4, 11am

Tickets for the National Finals Rodeo on May 1-4 at the QSEC at Caboolture can be purchased by going on the website http://www.qsec.com.au or by phoning 5433 3222.

Topics:  apra rodeo