Campdrafts bite the dust in dry conditions

Some of Australia's best horseman compete at Macleay Challenge Campdraft


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Up to 70 per cent of campdrafts in NSW and over half in Queensland have been cancelled because of the unrelenting dry conditions and flooding.

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For years it has been Australia's most beloved grass roots horse sport bringing thousands of dollars to rural communities. 

But across two states it has become another casualty of drought.

Up to 70 per cent of campdrafts in NSW and over half in Queensland have been cancelled because of the unrelenting dry conditions and flooding.

Walcha Golden Gate campdraft was cancelled in January, which usually draws 3000 competitors and Upper Horton did not go ahead for the first time in 76 years.

"Unless the weather changes dramatically more will be cancelled," Australian Campdraft Association president Hugh Philp said.

Mr Philp said in Queensland many people were hurting after floods had decimated cattle numbers.

"Driving from Clermont in Queensland to Tamworth, there is not a blade of glass for 1500km," Mr Philp said.

"I've never seen it like this, usually you see ground cover and you jag a storm somewhere but there is nothing at all."

Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) executive officer Craig Young said this year "eclipsed" any other in recent memory for the large amount of drafts being cancelled. 

Mr Young said finding cattle was harder because people were offloading in the drought.

He added campdrafts were invaluable to the towns that hosted them due to the large amount of money they returned back to the communities.

At Gladstone on the Mid North Coast, some of Australia's best known riders were among the 260 competitors from Hunter Valley to Grafton and west to Inverell that were put to the test in the dusty conditions at the Macleay Challenge Campdraft.

Of the competitors, 40 per cent came from drought affected regions.

Bob Fuller from the Macleay Challege said it was great to be able to host an event not only to showcase local talent but give those in drought-affected regions a chance for relief from their day to day life.

"We are not doing as bad as a lot of places," Mr Fuller said.

Mr Fuller said an event like this was not able to be hosted without the support from generous cattle donors and sponsors. 

"The campdraft community is great and they rally when times are tough," he said.

Ian Colewell from Walcha said with many campdrafts including his home-towns cancelled because of the drought, it was great to compete at Gladstone.

Proston Campdraft:

Following the heartbreaking devastation of the floods in Queensland, Proston Campdraft Committee will be running a charity draft in conjunction with the normal campdraft on March 22 and 24.

All proceeds will be donated to Sisters of the North. It is a $50 nomination fee with donated prizes but there will be no prizemoney. Elite Livestock Auctions will conduct a live charity auction at 6.30pm on March 23.

Epic Horse Sale and Campdraft :

The fourth annual Epic Horse Sale and Campdraft will be held at the Willawarrin Sports Ground from March 15 to 17.

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