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Community & Business

13 July, 2023

Local cowgirl set to star at rodeo event

CHASING the need for speed, 26 year old Markayla Shephard is preparing to dominate on home soil in the Mareeba Rodeo arena this weekend.

By Ellie Fink

Markayla Shephard will be taking on some of the best barrel racers in the rodeo scene at the Mareeba Rodeo this weekend.
Markayla Shephard will be taking on some of the best barrel racers in the rodeo scene at the Mareeba Rodeo this weekend.

Considered one of the most exciting events besides bull riding at every rodeo, the local cowgirl will compete in the ladies barrel race this weekend with her horse Shine.

Barrel racing requires a horse and rider to complete a course of barrels in the shape of a cloverleaf in the quickest time.

Starting out in camp drafting, Markayla found her love for the horse sports scene at an early age, chasing cows at any event she could get to.

In 2015, she found herself on the back of her horse once again, but this time looping around barrels in the arena.

Since then, Markayla has secured many buckles and ribbons for the collection, becoming one of the most well-known cowgirls in the north.

“My biggest highlight would probably be in 2021 when I obtained the ABCRA ladies barrel race novice champion which was a really huge success,” she said.

Recently, Markayla also won Maiden Camp draft and came second in the lady’s barrel race at Laura Rodeo.

The Mareeba Rodeo holds a special place in Markayla’s heart, being one of the biggest ABCRA events in the country taking place on home soil.

Although she didn’t do as well as she wanted to at last year’s event, she hopes to come back better than ever to secure the win.

“I have competed at the Mareeba Rodeo for the past two years and the first time I did, I actually got second place but last year I didn’t do super well.

“I just love the atmosphere of it and the home- town scenery – it’s just a great show to go to.”

In preparation for the event, Markayla is working with Shine to ensure he is ready to go up against some of the biggest names in the sport.

Working on fitness, stamina and consistency, Shine knows the sport like second nature and Markayla is confident he will perform at the best of his ability on the day.

“So mainly our preparation is just fitness and keeping Shine nice and fit and making sure he is ready to run,” she said.

“On the day, we are hoping then he will have consistent runs and hopefully that consistency will pay off.

“It’s pretty exciting – we have a few New South Wales competitors coming up so it’s re- ally good to test the waters and see how you can place up against the other girls.

“It is really awesome, and I love it.”

Besides her own event, Markayla is excited to have the rodeo back to two days, which will allow her to experience more of the events and get involved for a longer time.

“I don’t mind looking at the bull riding, that’s pretty cool and the ladies breakaway is also pretty awesome as well,” she said.

“Everything in the rodeo is pretty awesome and it looks like it is going to be fun.”

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