Warwick’s Gold Cup Campdrafting kicks off
IT'S the campdrafting event hailed as the pinnacle of Australian competition and this year it's more important than ever, according to visitors for 2019's Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft.
The campdraft, which began on Monday, has already flooded the Rose City with competitors and spectators who have come from near and far to participate in the week long festivities, many of whom see the festival as their one reprieve from a harsh reality.
Kayleen and Jim Southeron travelled from Walcha in NSW for the competition and welcomed the change of scenery as the event offers a break from what they call the worst drought in history back home.
"We've gone from 900 breeding cows when we started and have five head left," Mr Southeron said.
"You just can't stay at home and look at the dirt. You have to have a week away."
Mr Southeron said events like this week's campdraft helped rally a community that would otherwise be isolated on their properties.
"What it does is puts you on a level playing field, you realise everyone is in the same boat," he said.
"There's nobody here that's got feed or water or isn't affected by the drought
"It's not as if it's just me."
In Walcha, the pair recently saw their own hometown competition cancelled due to drought and said the fact that the event was event going ahead in Warwick was a testament to its organisers.
"One of the other reasons we're here is because they've put on this event for us, so we come to support them because it's all the credit to them for being able to do it," he said.
But this year's competition wasn't all camaraderie and the pair also put out their all to win the renowned event.
"Everybody aspires to win the Warwick Gold Cup because it's the pinnacle of our sport," Mr Southeron said.
"We've put our life into working out horses to the point of being good enough to compete here."
While The Southerons were recent to the sport, horse breeder Glenn Innis's Tom Williamson had been coming back every year since he was 16, even winning the Gold Cup in 2011 and said the standard of the competitors still stunned him. "It's one everyone wants to win. It's the Everest of campdrafting.
"It's quite amazing. After I won my Gold Cup you realise the weight it carries. People who aren't even horsey-minded come up and congratulate you.
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