Casino Campdraft was enjoyed by many at Casino Showgrounds over the weekend.
Casino Campdraft was enjoyed by many at Casino Showgrounds over the weekend. Jasmine Burke

PHOTOS: Competition kicks up dust at Casino's campdraft

IT MAY not always be glamorous in the mud or the heat, dirt and dust, but campdrafting is a mesmerising, authentic slice of Australia's bush culture.

And you can be sure the showgrounds are filled with passion, enthusiasm and sportsmanship.

It was this passion that drove Kim Kirkwood, from Terampa in Queensland, to the Casino Campdraft on the weekend, even though horse-riding sustained injuries meant she couldn't compete.

"I came off a horse in May and I'm still recuperating. I was on a young horse who decided he didn't want to be there and I come off and broke a pelvis,” Ms Kirkwood said.

Has it deterred her from horse-riding and competing?

"God no,” she said.

"I've been riding horses since I was young and been competing about 30 years.

"I'll get back on (the horse) when I think I can handle it.

"I need campdrafting every so often. It gets in your blood like anything you get passionate about.

"You just cant live without it. You sit here and watch all day long and not get bored.

"I'm not even riding but I just like to sit here and watch. You're an expert on the fence - it's easy here.”

Hundreds of competitors and spectators descended on Casino Showgrounds over the weekend for Casino Campdraft.

Campdrafting is a test of the competitor's ability to work cattle on horseback, as they cut one beast from a pack and work it in a specific pattern around an arena.

Among them were Ballina-raised sisters Tahlia 19, and Annaleise McDonald 17.

Tahlia competed in two events on Saturday including the Novice Draft and the Maiden Draft on Sunday.

Annaleise competed in the Maiden and Novice drafts on Saturday.

Riding horses in campdrafts since they were 10 and 12 years old, the sisters have drafted their own story as the first and only in their family to take up the sport.

And years later, they love nothing more.

"We compete nearly every weekend,” Tahlia said.

"We've got a lot of friends who have done it since the same age, we've all grown up doing it together.

"It's about catching up with mates you don't see. When you come to a draft you might see people you might only see once in a year.

"Then get together at night and have a good time.

"It's a good draft here (in Casino). They run a good show and a lot of the people that we've grown up like through pony club when we were younger run these drafts so we come and support them.

"We've made a heap of friendships we will keep forever.”

Competing most weekends, the girls have travelled widely from along the east coast to Glen Innis, to Sydney, Toowomba and further North, to west such as narrabi and gunnedah.

For those who haven't experienced the world of campdraft, the sisters said "just come along to one”.

"Everyone's really welcoming and if you want to take it up, everyone will help you out.”



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