Young talent shines through

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Bob GarnantCountryman

Being involved in the sport of rodeo always brings a smile to congenial cowgirls Taya McFarlane, 12, of Baskerville, and Hunta Gallacher, 8, of Bullsbrook.

They are both very proud to be finalists in the 2011 National Rodeo Council (NRC) WA Rodeo Princess Quest with the final competition taking place on Saturday at the State Equestrian Centre in Brigadoon from 10am to noon.

Both agree that demonstrating their horsemanship will be the most fun, and the public speaking part would be somewhere else on their list of pageant likes.

“I may be a bit nervous during my speech, but I have my horse tuned up for the riding pattern to music, ” Taya said.

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While it is Taya’s first pageant competition, Hunta, although four years Taya’s junior, has already chalked up a year’s worth of experience from when she was crowned mini-princess for 2009.

As princess, she will need to develop some other skills such as carrying a flag while riding.

“I am still working on balancing the flag with my horse Maverick, ” Hunta said.

Both girls come from rodeo families and the thrill of barrel racing runs deep in their veins.

While Taya was the under-14 barrel race champion for 2010 and all-round cowgirl for 2009, Hunta took out the poddy rider championship in the past year.

In a sport where your best friend is your horse, the two young cowgirls have learned it is important to have a well mannered horse, especially when there is a crowd to perform to.

“As mini-princess, I always found time to wave to the crowd when ever I could, ” Hunta said.

As her mum, Jodie Gallacher, said, “She would practise waving to the cows at home.”

Hunta knows how to stand out for the crowd and she said putting on a big smile and wearing shiny attire could win many hearts.

“The shinier the better, ” she said.

“Representing rodeo brings out your best and friendliness manners, ” Hunta said.

Both girls inspire to follow their mentor, NRC national rodeo queen Stacey Lambert, of Bullsbrook, who was crowned in October at the annual pageant in Queensland.

Stacey, who is the Princess Quest organiser, said it was important to encourage young people because they were the future of rodeo.

“There will always be a place for extremely talented and down to earth girls like Taya and Hunta to shine in the world of rodeo, ” Stacey said.

Stacey is only the second WA national rodeo queen title holder and will represent Australia when she travels to North America this year to attend the world’s famous rodeos.

“I will be very pleased to crown the 2011 NRC WA rodeo princess on New Year’s Eve, ” Stacey said.

The official crowning will take place at the New Year’s Eve Byford Rodeo.

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