Briar Sharp nearly did not fly up to Tauranga to take part in the final of the New Zealand Country Music Junior Entertainer of the Year competition.
The Gore Country Music Club member qualified for the competition at the Southern Country Music Awards, held in Dunedin in August.
The day she was due to fly north, her pony, Patchy, unexpectedly died, Briar (11) said.
However, she listened to the advice of her brother Maclean (17), who told her she might never get a chance to compete in the final again.
‘‘I didn’t want to go but Maclean, he made me go up.’’
Her singing teacher, Kayla Martin, also suggested she use the experience to help her sing.
‘‘You can sing with feeling for [Patchy],’’ she had told her.
It is just as well she did go because she won the competition.
She was pleased she went because it was a ‘‘cool experience’’.
The competition was held at the Bethlehem College Performing Arts Centre.
She sang Country Girl by Lisa McHugh in the matinee part of the final and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain in the evening.
She had made up some dance moves to go with the songs and played her guitar for the second song.
During the practice the day before, she had made several mistakes and was a little nervous about going on stage.
‘‘I heard all these people clapping and I thought ‘jeez, I can’t go out there’.’’
However, she did go out and the performance went well.