Rodeo star makes a comeback at 54 to help out a mate

Never too old. Inglewood rodeo legend, Mark Jonstone.
Never too old. Inglewood rodeo legend, Mark Jonstone.

Hold on to hope, dare to dream and when all else fails, go barrel racing.

That’s what we told Argus readers two years ago, and it’s just as true today according to Carina Stephens.

Back then she was organising the inaugural “Hopes n Dreams” Pink Lady Barrel Classic.

She “hoped” it would catch on. She need not have worried, because it has, Australia-wide. That team who began it all are Carina, Sharron McCarthy, the daughter of Goondiwindi rodeo legend, Col McTaggart, and Therese Quinn Amos Milen.

They hoped back then that  by 2020 all States  will be running a “Classic” to raise money for Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

Two years alter they are well on their way. And they are well on their way, adn it’s grown beyon barell racing.

“It is just over two years since the Goondiwindi Argus announced this charity event supporting Breast Cancer Network Australia and you will want to be putting your hat on when you attend these events,” Carina said.

There’s the  Hopes n Dreams Pink Lady Barrel Classic, Kalka Palms 1D – 5D Barrels Series, Hopes n Dreams Pink Lady Classic Bull Ride,  the PEEWEES Barrel Race and the Ringers Challenge.

But the events are not just about raising money to beat cancer, it’s about realising your own hopes and dreams.

As Carina says, “I was all broken, lacking in confidence an dfeeling age had caught up with me, I didn’t think I could compete.”

”But the Classic was an opportunity for me and others like me not to be judged as the rider I once was but as an event to enjoy with other over 40s where there is no pressure, only the pleasure of doing something you adore.

“So I surrounded myself with my own living legends and asked Sharron (McTaggart) McCarthy and Therese Quinn Amos-Milen to support my fanciful idea which they did and continue to, bless them”.

The Classic is now held in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. It’s on Friday to Sunday, June 28 – July 1 in Rockhamton. “The event now attracts, not just ‘old time riders’ like myself but riders who have never barrel raced and even one or two who have never ridden a horse.”

Rockhampton will host the first ever – Hopes n Dreams Pink Lady Classic Bull Ride for cowboys 40 years and over, registrations ae still open.

“The Classic has out-stripped my original concept,” Carina said.

Jumping onboard this year is Inglewood legend, Mark Johnstone.

“If you’ve ever been to the Inglewood rodeo, you have this man to thank,” Carina said.

“Not only did this cowboy bring the rodeo to his town, he also won the steer ride 10 years in a row.

“Mark is a 52 year old truck driver in Inglewood where his lives with his beautiful wife.

“Together they have two children, Christopher and Emma who now have a granddaughter named Maddie Maree.

“From steers to bulls to bareback horses, this man has done it all and became very successful in the rodeo world.

“Over the years the only break Mark has really had off was three years in the early 90s to join the army.

“He came back in style and continued to make it to the top.”

Mark retired at 49 but his retirement was short lived and he came back and became the over 50s Australian champion.

“It’s a title which he and his family are very proud of and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride for such a great cause,” Carina said.

To help support Mark, follow the link

 For more information on Hopes n Dreams and how you can sponsor, sell, help, ride or promote our events please contact Carina Stephens

Some facts: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. There are more than 60,000 people living with breast cancer in Australia today.

More than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years.

Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer have an 89.6% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis. Improvements in survival are attributed to earlier detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer.