10 May 2023

Cape York barrel racer mixes it with the best

| Sarah Martin
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FINISHING just a second behind the winner at the Australian Bushman’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association national finals capped off a stellar first year on the professional rodeo circuit for Kelly Shephard.

The young mum, who lives with her family at Crocodile Station near Lakeland, has been competing in rodeos all her life, but 2022 was her first full year chasing points and her first time qualifying for the ABCRA national finals.

She drove horse Nickelback for three days to the event in Tamworth, before taking on the country’s best barrel racers.

“I didn’t pick up any money, but was happy I was up in the times with some of the best girls in Australia,” she said.

And for all the Yellowstone fans out there, Kelly said it can be true that barrel racers are a little bit crazy.

“Yes, well, I suppose you could say we can be at times,” she joked.

When she isn’t riding rodeo, Kelly is competing at campdrafts or riding at home for work and barrel race training.

She has a laidback outlook on her rodeo success and is undecided whether she will aim for the nationals again in 2024.

“It was a great experience and if I get the opportunity I’ll probably go back.”

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