Campdraft brings interstate competitors to Fulham

Justin Coleman from Newry competes at the Sale Campdraft.
Justin Coleman from Newry competes at the Sale Campdraft.

THE Sale leg of the Gippsland Campdrafting Association season had about 250 competitors test their riding and drafting skills across three days of competition.

Beginning last Friday, the Sale polocrosse and equestrian grounds were packed with horse floats, as people came from as far as northern New South Wales and South Australia to compete.

With many Sale competitors also taking part in recent drafts held in Dumbalk and Yarram, the popular sport formed something of a travelling roadshow throughout Gippsland.

Drafters competed in open, restricted open, women's, maiden, maiden for maiden, two novice divisions, juvenile and junior grades.

Local riders from the Boulton family had a memorable event, with Peter winning the open and Ken the restricted open.

Others to salute were Vicki Hiscock (women's), Darren Towns (novice), Matt Holz (F novice), Toby White (maiden), Tash Adams (maiden for maiden), Cooper Rand (junior) and Nicholas Rand (juvenile).

The top competitors will compete for state titles.

To the uninitiated, campdrafting may appear to be a casual novelty, but the temperament, composure and knowledge required to succeed in the sport means that the margin for error is miniscule.

The first challenge is for riders to use their best judgement in selecting a single beast from a mob of cattle and to then turn it a number of times to demonstrate to a judge that they have it under control. From there, there are three minds working at once - the rider, the horse and the beast, as the trio enter a course to complete left and right hand turns in a figure eight, before finally guiding the beast through a gate.

It is thought the sport had its origins in outback Queensland, where stockman would challenge each other for bragging rights to prove their horse riding skills.

All canteen profits from the Sale campdraft were donated to fire fighting efforts.

The Gippsland Campdraft Association season will continue on Friday in Trafalgar.