I had the good fortune to stay and watch the Campdrafting for a few days at this event… a wonderful time.
From notes on Wikipedia it is thought the sport developed in outback Queensland among the stockmen and drovers in informal competitions to prove horse skills. The first formal campdrafting competition occurred in Tenterfield at the Tenterfield Show Society’s 1885 show. Competing at this event was Clarence Smith, a cattleman and horse breeder near Tenterfield, on the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales. He went on to create the rules and judging procedures that remain similar to the rules of today.
The Warwick Gold Cup is one of the premier events on Australia’s campdraft calendar. Here around 1,800 camp drafters compete for prize money over about six days of competition. Paradise Lagoons in Queensland is the venue of the richest campdraft in Australia with A$230,000 of prize money distributed over the four days of competition. The Acton Super Beef Open Campdraft has prize money of $80,000. This event, alone attracted 605 entries, which was conducted with two rounds and a final. The Queensland Triple Crown of campdrafting consists of the Condamine Bell, Chinchilla Grandfather Clock and Warwick Gold Cup campdrafts. Walcha, New South Wales has held the National titles on several occasions as the district is one of the few able to supply the quantities of quality cattle needed for these big events.
Most campdrafting days schedule an open, maiden, novice, ladies’ and junior events. Larger competition days may also include a draft for stallions and even bareback riders. Campdrafting has become a very popular family sport, with the husband, wife and a child sometimes competing on one horse in the ladies’ campdraft, junior ‘draft and then in another drafting event with the man up.
In about 2000 the National Campdraft Council of Australia was formed and oversees the four campdrafting bodies which are the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (based in Tamworth), the Australian Campdraft Association (in Queensland), the Southern Campdrafters Association and Gippsland Campdraft Association (GCA). Campdrafting is recognised by the Australian Institute of Sport as a national sport.
If any of the competitors can find their pictures in these two web albums, feel free to download them for personal use. If you want a high res version send me an email with the file name/number.