RODEO: Michael Maher and Lane Grayson are the two Warwick chances of a title win in saddle bronc at the Warwick Rodeo Australian Professional Rodeo Association National Finals on October 26-29 at the Warwick Showgrounds.
Maher is in fourth place in APRA standings behind leader and past winner Brad Pierce, of Tooma (NSW) and two Queenslanders, Clayton Braden and John McNamee.
McNamee hails from Millmerran and is the reigning champion.
With prizemoney won during the pro tour counting towards the battle for title buckles, Maher has some ground to make up on the top three.
Maher won three successive saddle bronc titles at Mt Isa before missing this year's rodeo as he was overseas so has proved he can perform on the big stage.
Grayson goes into the finals ranked 15th so will need to place in each round at the Warwick Showgrounds later this month to be in with a chance of a title win.
Last year, Maher and Grayson competed in the national finals along with fellow Warwick riders Mark Collins and Peel Tribe.
Collins is having a break from the sport while Tribe has retired from rough stock riding after a bad fall at last year's finals but will be busy at this year's event in his new role as rodeo chairman.
After winning one round of the national finals last year in the rope and tie, Warwick cowboy Mitch Eastwell has secured the 15th spot for the finals in the same event this year.
In team roping, Jeff Miller has qualified 14th in team roping header standings and his son Kobe has qualified 12th among the team roping heelers. Kobe won a junior title in the APRA this year and will be competing in the open national finals for the first time.
Fred Osman is in third spot in the bareback bronc ride standings behind New South Wales cowboy Ben Hall and defending champion David Worsfold from Wandoan.
Osman has lived in the west in recent years but for a time called Gore between Warwick and Inglewood home.