Situated on a picturesque plateau south-west of Port Macquarie, Comboyne is known for its fertile red basalt soils and high rainfall, producing beef and dairy cattle along with avocados and potatoes, however their Campdraft is becoming an increasingly popular event, with a total of 744 runs for the weekend - 130 more than last year.
The 2017 event, held on November 24 and 25, follows on from Comboyne winning the 2016 ABCRA Campdraft Committee of the Year Award, as voted by competitors. While the committee is tiny, the wider community rallies together helping out wherever possible to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible. This year, the thankless task of judging was taken care of by Scott Edwards, Jarrod Hannaford and Alan Young. On Saturday evening a Calcutta was held on the final of the novice as a fundraiser for the local primary school where entertaining local auctioneer John Corrigan kept the bids rolling in to raise $1000.
The junior campdraft saw some brilliant riding, with Hayden Whatham from Maitland riding Norma to take the win with 94 points. In second place was Gloucester’s Travis Sansom riding Little Abbey with 90 points, followed by Kempsey’s Chase Rosten riding Little Mac. The juvenile campdraft was won by Kempsey’s Luke Barnes riding Sugar with 93 points, closely followed by Nicholas Murray on Ela Miss Boss and Toby Ware on Willow. The ladies event was won by April Langridge from Lake Macquarie riding Jekka after two runoffs with Gloucester’s Kylie Blanch on Tribute. Rounding out the lineup were Niangala’s Gemma Clarke on Abels Solo and locals Neisha Lowe on Remix and Rebecca Corrigan on Tune.
Walcha’s young Bevan Wood aboard Sunray was too good for the other 180 competitors in the maiden campdraft, scoring an impressive 91 points to take the blue ribbon. Joey Latham from Bingara riding Jess, Tony Mortimer on Princess and Ellie Costigan with Shy Guy all scored 89 points to be equal second. The novice campdraft consisted of 233 entries, of which 23 progressed to the final and was won by Kempsey competitor Allan Sinclair riding Pleasure on 178 points. Dallas Kirkman from Bagnoo riding Double Champagne came in second place, followed by Walcha’s Bevan Wood on Eye Made. Bunyah competitor Wayne Murray and Ela Kookaburra claimed victory in the open campdraft ahead of the other 90 competitors, scoring 178 points. In equal second on 177 points were Allan Young on Liberty Silver Rain and Dallas Kirkman on Double Champagne. The open was taken out by Stroud competitor Scott Edwards on Snort, while Grant Whatham’s Jewel and Wayne Murray were hot on his heels.