By Taylah Fellows
CAMPDRAFT competitors are preparing for the return of the Rouchel Bushman’s Carnival next weekend at the Rouchel Recreation Grounds.
The draft has been running for decades but has been cancelled for the past two years due to poor weather conditions.
See photos below.
April Docherty, secretary for the carnival, said the organisers had to move the draft date forward from the first weekend of October to August 17th -18th due to cattle numbers.
“We didn’t have cattle confirmation numbers for our October date because this year has been very dry but we’ve been lucky in that a lot of people in the area still have some cattle left and that’s the whole reason we are actually going ahead this year,” said Ms Docherty.
However, cattle numbers have still affected the number of runs the draft is able to hold this year.
“We have 550 first-round runs available and we had around 860 entries so unfortunately, we’ve had to cull quite a few,” said Ms Dochtery.
“Previously we’ve been able to practice more runs, with 750 first round runs so we’ve been lucky this year in [these conditions] that people are still willing to hold onto the cattle until August,” she said.
Ms Dochtery said she hopes the return of the campdraft will lift peoples spirits and take their minds off the drought.
“I really think people are looking forward to getting out, enjoying a bit of company and finally competing with their horses,” said Ms Dochtery.
“The best thing about a campdraft is that everybody gets together and once you finish competing for the day everybody ends up at the bar or around the fire,” she said.
The draft spirit is still intact within the local community who are already gearing up for the weekend ahead.
“The local community always attend and rally these events so you can always count on them to be there to either support the canteen, support the bars, to help out and do all the rest,” said Ms Dochtery.
“We have around 150 competitors in the 550 runs so we anticipate getting anywhere between 50 and 70 family spectators at the start,” she said.
“Everybody always enjoys watching the open runs because they are the best horses with the best riders and it’s usually a smaller event because they’re rare with only 30-50 competitors in that run,” said Ms Dochtery.
This year the draft aims to get more kids involved giving them a chance for them to ‘get in the ring’ with time trials and utility classes available over the weekend.
The draft will also make a donation at the completion of the event with previous donations given to Westpac Helicopter Rescue and Where There’s a Will foundation.