Maclay Challenge Campdraft

Campdrafting, came to Gladstone, NSW, in a big way over the Easter long weekend. The Maclay Challenge - Three days of competition, including Novices, Maidens, Opens and Open for Opens (top level competition for those who have previously won at Open level). There was also a very special inclusion to the program.

For the first time in 40 years, the Teams Challenge was back. To add an extra special touch one of the winning riders from the very first event was there to compete again.

John Stanton (right), has been riding campdraft competitions, for over five decades. Watching him ride, it is hard to believe he is an octagenarian. Competing with many, who had several decades on him, he still put on a show. Alas, to quote John, this day was "Wrong horse. Wrong jockey". The cheeky smile was not far behind.

For many this was a great opportunity to see the class of the country. Many skills exhibited, they use on a day to day basis, managing stock. With the changing times, many are skills that are fading away. Dirt bikes, 4WDs and even helicopters are beginning to replace the faithful stock horse.

Credit goes to the organisers and competitors of the Maclay Challenge Campdraft Festival. A smoothly run festival, demonstrated outstanding horsemanship skills. It also showed the extraordinary warmth in their country hospitality.

With thanks to Graeme Cox, John and Donna Stanton.

To find out more about Campdrafting, a unique Australian competition, see more at the Australian Bushman Campdraft and Rodeo Association.

© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography Travel and Events Photography and Editorials

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