Adam knows the ropes
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
ADAM Baker, 17, rode into the ABCRA Junior National Finals Rodeo as the underdog and left as a champion.
In three rounds of the junior breakaway event at the Tamworth Showground Indoor Arena, Baker, of Great Marlow, rode 18-year-old gelding Travis to win the aggregate ? overall winner of the final rounds of competition at Tamworth, and was runner-up in the annual progressive junior breakaway championship which finalised in the city.
"I had no pressure 'cause I had nothing to lose; I was all for gain," Baker said.
The top 15-positioned riders were selected for the finals, held on Monday and Tuesday, with Baker in 10th spot.
He won at Armidale, Gravesend and came third at Lawrence Rodeo on Travis to qualify for the finals.
Baker is the son of former Australian calf roping champion, Stephen. His brother Cal, 18, who owns Travis, is leading the ABCRA rope and tie standings.
Baker said he practised hard for two months leading up to the finals.
The gelding Travis has competed in many different events with the Baker family since he was seven.
The events include rope and tie, barrel racing and campdraft events.
"Travis was hyped, he knew what he was there to do," Baker said.
"He is a really intelligent horse. He was on the ball and tracked his calves really well."
In the first round his friesian calf tripped on the barrier and Baker made an amazing catch in 5.2 seconds as the calf fell.
After roping a murray grey calf in 3.3 seconds Baker won the second round.
He and Travis did a victory lap to Tina Turner's Simply the Best.
"The atmosphere was just awesome," he said.
"I thought I would go all right; I was pretty confident."
The tension was high in the final round on Tuesday evening with his win riding on his last catch. Baker caught his calf in 3.49 seconds and after the leader of the aggregate made a illegal catch, Adam's win was secured.
He was presented with his gold and silver buckle at the presentation on Sunday at the showgrounds.
It was Baker's first national finals for breakaway.