Five years ago, Adanni Walker, was happily bashing around the paddocks at home on her horse. Today, she is the 2022 APRA Junior High Point Cowgirl, and is preparing to compete in the barrel race at her first Junior National Finals Rodeo in Emerald later this month.
"The junior finals is just as competitive as the opens, so I want to go out and have three neat runs. I don't want to knock any barrels, I just want to do well," Adanni said.
"Don't get me wrong, I'll be going out to win, but I'm allowing myself the room to know that if it doesn't go how I want then there'll be another opportunity.
"You really do have to not worry, to let go of what other people think, and so to be ready I know I have to not worry about - because if I go out and knock three drums on all runs, it's not going to change what I've achieved or what I will do in the future."
Adanni is a bubbly, positive and calm young cowgirl, who is quick to admit she didn't have an awareness of the High Point Cowgirl title, or that she was in the running to win it.
"I didn't even know, until a friend told me, so it's pretty cool but I was just focusing on one rodeo at a time," Adanni said.
But don't be fooled, Adanni is focused, considered and is working hard at being the best she can be in the sport of pro-rodeo.
"I have goals. I had a goal to get into the junior finals and I've accomplished that," Adanni said.
"I've aspired to be the best in Australian junior rodeo, and If I'm doing something I'll always try and put 110 per cent into it."
But as with most success, it hasn't happened overnight for Adanni. Nor has it been a solo achievement.
"I've got the most incredible family. My mum has me on the road right now, 2000km from home, on our way to Emerald," Adanni said.
"I could always ride, but I didn't rodeo until I went to Alexandra Rodeo and I thought 'oh my goodness, I really want to do that'. So I loaned a horse, TK, and rode her for two years and she definitely knew how to run barrels better than I did, because I was just getting around them any way I could.
"That's the best thing about barrel racing - you can start trotting around the drums, no one will look funny, everyone's encouraging and supportive, so anyone can do it. And then you just take it as competitively as you want to."
Catch Adanni at this year's Australian Professional Rodeo Association's junior finals on June 24 and 25 in Emerald.
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