Barrel racers from the three day school line-up before their jackpot race.
Barrel racers from the three day school line-up before their jackpot race. Contributed

Gympie riders barrel ahead

ON their fourth trip to Australia, Mitch and Carolyn Shoemake held their popular three-day barrel racing school in Gunalda earlier this month.

Aspiring barrel racers from all over the region gathered at the local town hoping to gain experience and learn something new from the trainers, who are based in South Carolina, USA.

With more than 40 years of joint racing experience and knowledge, the barrel racing teachers came to Gympie after meeting Kerrie and Tamika Anderson in the US.

Kerrie said they ran into each other when Tamika was representing Australia for the first time at the Open Worlds in 2009.

"They are like a barrel racing encyclopaedias," Kerrie said.

"Mitch has qualified for the NBHA Worlds every year since it commenced in 1992, so he is obviously looked up to by the junior riders."

To finish the program, the Shoemakes held a jackpot race.

Bailey Caruana took out first place honours in division one while Mel Stedman and Natasha Masierowski took out the remaining divisions.

Kerrie said the school was a great success with everybody having fun and learning something new.

"The three massive days of barrel racing was ideal for those wanting to improve their techniques," she said.

"Overall all students and teachers had a blast with some already booking for 2014."

"The program was great for riders to prepare for the NBHA event the following weekend."