Cherie O’Donoghue wins 11th breakaway roping championship

By James Arbuthnott

LOCKINGTON cowgirl Cherie O’Donoghue won her 11th Australian rodeo title at the 2019 Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals in Queensland recently.

After her 2018 induction into the Australian Professional Rodeo Association Hall of Fame for most national titles overall, Mrs O'Donoghue proved she wasn't done yet after also winning her sixth All Around Cowgirl title.

“We had a pretty busy year with the rodeo and for now it's straight back to the farm, then the Victoria and NSW rodeo season starts around Christmas,” Mrs O'Donoghue said.

“I love horses and I’ve always been around horses, my dad had over 100 horses when I was younger, so it was just a given that I was going to do something with horses.”

And while Mrs O'Donoghue will take a step back from rodeo competitions after achieving her goal, she doesn't plan on taking a back seat either.

“Roping didn’t come easy to me and I still have to work at it a lot and maybe that’s a part of it — I had to work at it and see those improvements — I’ve always had to work at it and I can’t say I’d give it up.

Mrs O'Donoghue has found inspiration in her family and friends throughout her time competing in rodeos, and she will always be inspired to rope.

“I had a goal to have the most breakaway roping titles awarded in Australia and that was probably what got me going until now — it was something that kept me motivated,” she said.

“One of the people I'm most inspired by rang to congratulate me on the title and I told him it was his fault. To this day he has a rope and dummy out the back and he hasn't competed for 40 years.

“I do something every day to try and get better and he’s part of that reason. It’s pretty special he’s trying to master a technique without any trophy. He’s one of the first people who taught me to rope.

“I'll always rope and ride horses in some way or another — I don't know if you ever retire from rodeo and I'll probably still do more rodeos than most.”