The Rookie Series – A highlight of the Richmond Campdraft

Campdrafting is a sport for people of all ages and a family event that brings rural communities together. The NAB Agribusiness Rookie Campdraft Series encourages less-experienced riders to join in the action with a chance to compete at their own level.

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Now in its 10th year, the NAB Agribusiness Rookie Campdraft Series is a highlight of the Richmond Campdraft. The event encourages less experienced riders by giving them an opportunity to compete against others at a similar level – the only condition of entry is that neither the rider nor the horse has previously won a draft.

“The key word is encouragement,’ says David Carter who, with his wife Jane, runs a 20,000 ha property near Richmond in north-west Queensland and organises the annual campdraft event. “It’s grown into a very prestigious event which attracts male and female riders from 15 years old to as old as you like. Many participants become very enthusiastic and involved in the sport, and some have gone on to win major drafts around the country.”

It’s thought that campdrafting began in rural Queensland in the early part of the twentieth century, inspired by drovers’ skills in ‘cutting out’ an individual beast to drive a mob of cattle to a separate holding area.

“The horse and rider need to block the attempts of the beast to follow its natural instincts and return to the mob,” says Sean Dillon, President of the Australian Campdraft Association. ‘Today, the sport is conducted in a set of yards attached to an arena. The competitors have to ‘cut out’ a beast from the yard or ‘camp’, follow it out through the open gate into the arena, guide it around a course of right and left hand turns, and then out through another gate – all in a few minutes. A good campdrafter has to be a fine rider who also has the skill to select a beast that’ll run well.”

Benefits for the community

The Carters organise the competition with a view to supporting the local community.

“The wonderful thing about campdrafting is that it’s a real family affair. It’s one of the few sports where the events cater to every age group – we have children as young as five taking part in the mini draft and, at the other end of the scale, people who are still competing in their seventies and eighties.” says David. “And competitors and their supporters need accommodation, food, feed for their horses and fuel for their vehicles, so the event is good for businesses in the town.”

The 2012 Rookie event brought 16 horse and rider combinations together for the final ‘shoot out’. After a fierce competition,Richmondlocal, Willie Bradshaw and his horse ‘Stoneage Venus’ were awarded the blue ribbon.

The 2013 NAB Agribusiness Rookie Campdraft Series kicks off this month:

  • Winton – 3-5 May
  • JuliaCreek – 17-19 May
  • Saxby – 28-30 June
  • Cloncurry – 11-14 July
  • Hughenden – 9-11 August
  • Richmond – 30 August – 1 September plus Finals

Download the attached brochure to find out more.