Kingaroy rider the best in the state
THE South Burnett Times is celebrating the achievements of aspiring athletes in the region.
Throughout November and December we will be featuring the nominees for our junior sportsperson of the year competition.
Meet competition nominee Shannon Hansen.
Shannon has improved out of sight this year to become one of Queensland's most successful junior barrel racers.
The 13-year-old Kingaroy State High School student was the Queensland Barrel Racing Association's junior division one winner.
"I love competing and the exhilaration of running my horse around the barrels,” she said.
To compete Shannon and her family travel across the state to the likes of Gympie, Dalby, Chinchilla and Warwick.
It is the community around the sport that provides her with the motivation to keep going.
"My family all encourage me and I have lots of friends I compete with. They have all given me encouragement throughout the year,” she said.
This season Shannon won 75% of the events that she competed in.
Shannon's commitment to her sport and her horse, Sharni, has paid off this year.
"This year I have ridden my mare everyday during the week after school doing drills on the drums, trotting to keep her fitness up and cattle work get her mind working,” she said.
For her effort the Sharni was named the title of high point division one horse of the year and overall high point junior horse.
President of the Queensland Barrel Racing Association, Shelly Frame, is in awe of Shannon's improvement this year.
"She is a very humble winner and I couldn't speak highly enough of this kid,” she said.
"Last year she was in the lower divisions and happy to be there and compete and you could see at the finals a remarkable difference in her mental attitude and riding ability and from the first event of the year to the last.”
Shannon has proved she is a skilled and experienced rider with success on a number of different horses this year.
"Some people say that in barrel racing the athleticism comes from the horse and not the rider but that is not right,” Frame said.
"This kid gets up gets over a horse and rides with so much confidence.”
In 2019 Shannon will be looking to continue her winning form in the sport that she loves.
"I would love to win another championship and encourage other kids to keep going and achieve their dreams as I have,” she said.
According to Frame, the sky is the limit for what Shannon can achieve in the sport.
"She has got one of the brightest futures I have seen in barrel racing for a long time,” she said.