JOLLY GOOD SHOW FOR INAUGURAL CAMPDRAFT
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.”
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.
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.