RISING STARS: Clayton Miners Jr was one of many talented youngsters at the APRA Junior National Finals in Emerald.
RISING STARS: Clayton Miners Jr was one of many talented youngsters at the APRA Junior National Finals in Emerald. Dave Ethell

Kids, it's time to shine

LOCAL talent was front and centre at the Australian Professional Rodeo Association Junior

National Finals on June 21-22 at Emerald Showgrounds.

Emerald competitors Ellysa Kenny, Clay Caban and Tyler Kenny took victory in their events, with Ellysa winning the Barrel Race, Tyler winning the Team Roping Heeler and Clay taking out Team Roping Header and All Round Cowboy.

For Emerald Rodeo Association president Shane Kenny, the Junior National Finals was a great occasion to watch the best youngsters around go at it.

"The local kids did really well,” Mr Kenny said.

"The barrel racing was that close there was nothing in it.

"The competition between those girls was probably the toughest.

"The rest of the events, it was good to watch the kids compete and even the ones who weren't successful had a really good time.”

These events for the juniors provide an opportunity for them to continue their development as they approach the age to compete in open competitions.

"It's watching the whole competition and how they conduct themselves in and out of the arena,” Mr Kenny said.

"It's no different to football and tennis as they come up through the

ranks and they've got to learn to compete, win, lose or draw.

"It's part of the development, which has come a long way the last 10 years.”

With the night-time temperatures dropping rapidly over the weekend, crowds were still good.

However, this doesn't deter Mr Kenny and the goals and outcomes that he and his association always have in mind.

"A few people got scared away a bit by the cold weather, which was understandable being a very brisk night,” Mr Kenny said.

"It was a pretty good crowd of about 700-800 people.

"It might not have been a huge financial success for us, but at the end of the day the event for the kids was awesome.

"As a committee that's all we can sort of hope for, the quality of the product there was second to none.”

Expectations were high on Clay Caban going into the event, who performed well given his recent full re-investment in rodeo competition.

"He ended up coming through in the team roping, which we kind of expected,” Mr Kenny said. "He's starting to step his game up.

"It wasn't that long ago he was walking around kicking a football and not really that interested.

"Since his interests have changed he's really come on strong.”

Next up for these young competitors will be the Northern Run in July, where they will compete at events in places such as Mount Isa and Cloncurry ahead of the North Queensland Elite in August at Townsville.