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17 February, 2023

Beetle beats the barrels

It’s not a sport that we would all be familiar with, but 11-year-old Chloe ‘Beetle’ Harris is brilliant at barrel-racing.

By Emily Middleton

Chloe recently finished-up in the top 10 for her under 11s age group in the elite event - involving rider and horse completing a circuit around stationary barrels in the fastest possible time, at the ABCRA national finals held last month.

Competing against riders from all over the country, the St Joey’s student has been travelling each weekend to accumulate enough points for the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA).

“Adults compete for money, kids compete for points,” Mum, Karen Harris said.

“On average, there is about 18–20 kids in her age group, so you really have to go pretty hard and go to every single rodeo every single weekend.”

With her goal in mind, Beetle Harris was determined to make it to the finals.

Her mother is very grateful to St Joseph’s for being so understanding of Beetle being out of school on occasions to compete.

“There was a time where I said, ‘now Mrs Schier, I know you think I’m crazy missing all this school but I am actually chasing something’,” laughed Beetle.

Chloe and her horse Gator-raid, accumulated enough places and points, placing regularly in the top five, to make it to the finals.

Only the top 15 competitors are invited to compete in the finals event, held in Tamworth over three days.

“It wasn’t necessarily to get a buckle or anything for winning it, but just to get to the finals for my first time,” she said.

“It was pretty exciting that I got there. I was really nervous before every run, but then when I got out there it was so much fun. When I came out I was like ‘I want to go again!’”

Mrs Harris was beyond proud of her daughters’ efforts, and how far she has come from the beginning of the season.

“With riders from Queensland and Western Australia it was a great experience and tough competition which saw Beetle and her horse grow in confidence over the three days to place sixth in the final run,” Mrs Harris said.

Since she was 18-months-old, Beetle has been barrel-racing alongside her mum.

“Technically she was still in the womb, because I barrel raced when I was pregnant with her!” Mrs Harris said.

With her big brother a bull rider, dad a team roper, and mum always barrelracing, Beetle was brought up in the rodeo scene, and continues her love for it today.

“I really like barrel racing, but I’m starting to try and do a little bit of breakaway because I just got a new horse that’s really good at it,” she said.

Beetle’s next goal is barrel racing and breakaway all rounder in the southern zone — in a few years’ time. Taking a much-needed slow season next year, she’s looking forward to working on her skills in preparation

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