Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Bob Gar­nant

The re­cent in­au­gu­ral El­ders In­vi­ta­tional Cam­p­draft Com­pe­ti­tion brought an elite group of rid­ers and horses to­gether, all com­pet­ing for brag­ging rights in front of a large crowd in the IGA Perth Royal Show’s main arena.

The win­ner, Darci Nan­car­row, aged just 16, demon­strated there was no age bar­rier to the sport if both rider and horse were re­spon­sive to the task at hand.

The WA Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture, Har­vey stu­dent said she had six years of cam­p­draft­ing ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt.

“It was sen­sa­tional to win the El­ders Cam­p­draft against an ex­pe­ri­enced field of rid­ers,” Darci said.

“My horse was very in tune to my lead, which gave me the edge.”

Darci first had to cut out a steer from a mob of cat­tle in a small yard (camp) by block­ing and turn­ing the beast at least two or three times to prove to the judge she had con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

Darci and her Quar­ter­horse, Smart Fancy Blue Duck, then ma­noeu­vred the flighty steer out of the camp to be­gin a quick pace around a fig­ure-of-eight out­side course in­volv­ing left and right­hand turns around pegs with de­ter­mi­na­tion to fin­ish through two pegs, known as the “gate”.

The pre­sid­ing judge, Cody Law, of In­verell, New South Wales, said Darci was on top of her game, us­ing just the right amount of pres­sure on the steer in the camp and on the out­side to gain the most points over two runs.

“Com­peti­tors must eye off an ap­pro­pri­ate ath­letic steer in the camp to cut out and show con­trol of that beast, and then be able to guide it through the out­side pegs in quick time be­fore their 40 sec­onds are up,” he said.

Mr Law had to crack his stock­whip to dis­qual­ify a few rid­ers who lost con­trol of their beast in the out­side arena.

“The sport re­quires con­sum­mate skill and horse­man­ship, and the skill in se­lect­ing a beast from the mob that will run well, but is not too fast for that par­tic­u­lar horse,” he said. “Great pres­tige is be­stowed on the win­ning horse and rider of the com­pe­ti­tion.”

All of the com­peti­tors ex­cept Dar­ci­have been top open win­ners in their own right dur­ing the reg­u­lar WA Aus­tralian Cam­p­draft As­so­ci­a­tion sea­son, which takes place from Oc­to­ber-April each year through­out the State.

Pin­jarra cam­p­drafter and ACA del­e­gate Leah McLarty, who hosts the Boer Swamp Cam­p­drafts at his fam­ily’s Blythe­wood prop­erty, said the El­ders Cam­p­draft was en­joyed by a huge crowd.

“It was the largest pub­lic dis­play of the sport we have had in WA so far,” he said.

“We were very proud of Darci . . . she is ranked as one of the best up­com­ing ju­ve­nile rid­ers in the coun­try and can ride with the best of them. It was an ab­so­lute credit to the Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety and spon­sors to have the fore­sight to bring the sport to the show­grounds.

“Mike Stan­ton and An­gus Gra­ham and staff at Cul­lalla feed­lot put a lot of work into the cat­tle to pre­pare them for this event.”

El­ders State live­stock man­ager Ge­off Shipp said the cam­p­draft par­tic­i­pants im­pressed the large crowd at the show.

“This was a great op­por­tu­nity for El­ders to as­sist the uniquely Aus­tralian sport in a pub­lic show­case at the show,” he said.

“Congratulations to Darci Nan­car­row for tak­ing the win and to all those who con­trib­uted to a suc­cess­ful cam­p­draft com­pe­ti­tion.”

Cam­p­draft com­peti­tor Heath Ste­wart, who is a multi-open award-win­ner on the reg­u­lar cir­cuit, hoped the sport would be wel­comed back at the show next year.

“Nor­mally cam­p­drafts are con­ducted in a pur­pose-built arena with a pre­pared sandy ground pro­vid­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate trac­tion for fast gal­lops if need be around tight turns,” he said.

“We faced some ex­tra­or­di­nary chal­lenges at the show’s main arena, with all credit go­ing to the RAS com­mit­tee and par­tic­u­larly to the well-han­dled cat­tle.”

Pho­tos avail­able at west­

WA Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture, Har­vey stu­dent Darci Nan­car­row rode bril­liantly at the El­ders In­vi­ta­tional Cam­p­draft Com­pe­ti­tion, win­ning first place and tak­ing home the cash prize.

Pic­tures: Bob Gar­nant

Scott Kel­lar placed fifth at the El­ders Cam­p­draft.

Kim­ber­ley cam­p­drafter Darcy An­der­son took sec­ond place at the El­ders In­vi­ta­tional Cam­p­draft Com­pe­ti­tion.

Cam­p­draft com­peti­tor Heath Ste­wart per­forms in front of a large crowd.

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