THE Sale Polocrosse Grounds came alive over the weekend as the Gippsland Campdrafting Association hosted the Sale leg of its championships.

Judges Scott Bandy and Darren Towns presided over the action-packed event, which saw riders and their trusty steeds showcasing their skills in various categories.

The event spanned two and a half days, starting with the Maiden final on Friday afternoon to accommodate the large number of entries in the championships.

The Maiden category witnessed Kilmany’s Tanya Rand riding Argyle emerging as the champion, closely followed by Sale’s Sonya Ford on HB and Melbourne’s Simone Baratta on Star securing third place.

On a gloomy Saturday morning, 12 competitors competed for glory in the Novice finals.

A good place to watch proceedings is the natural, grassy hill behind the ‘course’ or the full grandstand beside the announcers booth. The crowd goes along for the ride – even if it only lasts 30 seconds, sometimes shorter if the drafter cannot gain control of their chosen cow.

This proved hard for some drafters in the final, as they had graduated from young Holsteins to beefier beasts. Riders that had completed runs in the semi-final round with no issues, struggled to control the beasts, the crack of the whip signaling their failure to guide the cow around the correct side of the pegs in a figure of eight.

Bairnsdale’s Graeme Rozynski riding Tequila in the Novice final.

From camp to course, riders needed to stay steadfast and determined.

Beginning in the ‘camp’, a yarded pen abutting the course is where drafters begin their run.

When a rider’s name is called, a volunteer opens the gate and lets him or her into the camp. The rider points to a beast he or she has selected, culls it from the mob and ushers it to the front in the first instance. The audience can see just how much rider and horse become one as they block the beast in the end of the camp.

The competitor then makes two or three passes with the lone beast before signaling for the gates to be opened. Horse, rider and beast head into the course, accelerating to a fast gallop.

In the finals of the Novice, Kilmany’s Nicholas Rand took home the championship title riding Montana, with Bairnsdale’s Graeme Rozynski on Hope securing the runner-up position and Heyfield’s Peter Boulton riding Carramar Gifted Spin clinching third place.

Kilmany locals Tanya Rand and Novice champion Nicholas Rand competed in the Gippsland Campdraft Association Championships on Saturday. Photos: Erika Allen

Boulton backed up his third place Novice run with a championship title in the Open division riding Nandeye Destinys Reflex, with his father Ken Boulton on Allamo as the runner-up and Ken Boulton again, this time riding Redeem, securing third place.

Heyfield’s Peter Boulton riding Carramar Gifted Spin in the Novice semi-final on Saturday.

In the Ladies category, Sale’s Tash Adams, riding Tommy, claimed top spot as the champion, followed by Maffra’s Bonnie Hiscock on Davey and Mel Towns riding Mercury.

The Juvenile division saw Patrick Shanahan riding Bobby’s Roany clinch the champion title, with Zoe Adams on Tommy the runner-up and Flissity Bechaz on Fancy Boy third.

Finally, in the Junior category, Fletcher Rand riding Kite emerged as the champion, with Ella Jacobsen on KC as the runner-up, and Indi Jacobsen on Barry in third.

Despite the wet weather, the event was a resounding success, showcasing the talent and dedication of campdrafters from across the region

Sale’s Janelle Kennedy riding Felon as they manoeuvre the cow around the first peg.
Maneuvering beside the beast is key to guiding them around the pegs, which Traralgon’s Jordi Stockdale and Spin executed perfectly in their finals run in the Novice event.