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Annabel named a National Champion

Story and photos from the Northern Daily Leader.
Photos: Kate Jones Photography
Story: Samantha Newsam and Robyn Paine

Tamworth's Annabel Dalzell can add national champion to her resume.

The teenager, who in June helped Calrossy win a record 10th straight Poole Family Perpetual Shield as the most successful school at the North West Equestrian Expo , was crowned the Australian Bushmen's and Campdraft Association (ABCRA) Encouragement Rider of the Year following the recent National Campdraft Finals at North Star.

Held in conjunction with the Australian Campdraft Championships, participants travelled from as far as Western Australia to compete.

While all financial ABCRA members were eligible to compete in the championships, only the top 15 from the various rider and horse categories could contest for the coveted national champion buckle and accolades.

ABCRA Executive Officer Craig Young said there was some fantastic competition across the four days, with some of the country's best horsemanship on display.

He noted the performance of Cargo's Leah Whitehead, who produced a "fantastic run" aboard Calinda Miss Leeoney in the opening round of the National Finals ladies event, scoring 91.5 points.

Leading the lady rider standings heading into the finals, she followed up with 89 in the second round to not only secure the end-of-year title but also the aggregate title for the finals.

Coolah's Troy Palmer added another title to his impressive collection claiming his eighth Most Successful Rider, while Gary Faulks took out the Master Rider of the Year.

Speaking about her win with Heidi Smith for the ABCRA's social media platforms, Dalzell reflected that it was a great way to finish off what has been "great year".

Sitting in the no.1 spot but needing to perform at the finals to make sure of the title, Dalzell all but secured it with an 89.5-point run to win the first round. She backed up with a fifth place in the second to finish fifth in the aggregate.

Remarking that the cattle had been the best she's chased all year, she said her horse, Westlake Winston, just "worked really well all week".

With the campdraft champions crowned, the attention now turns to the National Finals Rodeo, to be held in Tamworth from January 25-27, 2024.