CLASS RIDER: Tom Webster on Cajoon Man in saddle bronc at the Warwick Rodeo.
CLASS RIDER: Tom Webster on Cajoon Man in saddle bronc at the Warwick Rodeo. Dave Ethell

APRA national finals to stay at home of rodeo

RODEO: The Australian Professional Rodeo Association National Finals Rodeo will be at the Warwick Showgrounds for at least the next three years.

The finals, called the Warwick APRA National Finals Rodeo, have been at Warwick in recent years in conjunction with five campdrafts which are rated with the best in Australia.

Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president Gerard O'Leary said one change was shifting the fourth round of the national finals back to Sunday.

"The fourth round of the finals will be in prime time on the Sunday,” O'Leary said.

Last year, the four rounds of the national finals were from Wednesday to Saturday nights with campdrafting, second division and junior rodeo events on the Sunday.

"Some people last year thought there were no rodeo events on the Sunday,” he said.

"The national finals are the best of the best and go hand in hand with the Warwick Gold Cup campdraft.”

APRA chairman Shane Iker said his association wanted a permanent home for the national finals.

"Warwick fits best to be the town for the national finals,” he said.

"We have the APRA office in Warwick and it has always been a rodeo town, Warwick has stood by us and we want to stand by the town,” he said.

"The showgrounds arena in Warwick is an all-weather surface so we can have the finals rain, hail or shine.

"Warwick also attracts great crowds for the rodeo.”

In another change, the presentations of the title buckles for the year will be after the last round of each event at the finals in Warwick.

In the past, the presentation of buckles were held on the last night of the finals at the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre or Douglas Feez Pavilion.

Iker said sponsorship for the national finals looked the best for some time.

"We have companies keen to be naming rights sponsors for the finals,” Iker said.

"The APRA has been in discussions with Southern Downs Regional Council to make the finals bigger and better.”

The top 15 in each event will qualify for the finals.

While there is still more than three months left in the current season, the odds are Warwick will be well represented at the finals.

The Eastwell brothers, Wade, Mitch and Brock are keen to make finals in the rope and tie after all achieved round wins over the past two years.

Kylie Hancock needs a place on the Northern Run to make sure of a finals spot.

She is currently in seventh spot.

Mother-and-daughter Julie and Tahnee Small are 28th and 33rd.

Michael Maher is 17th in saddle bronc and a likely qualifier.

Kobe Miller is home from competing in the United States and is 17th in team roping heeler standings.

His father Jeff is 13th in header standings.

Jeff's wife Shellie is 51st and needing to place well in a major rodeo like Mt Isa to push her claims.

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