Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The ultimate challenge

Who is the best stockman in Australia? Cloncurry's Stockmen's Challenge is where you'll find out.

Story: Heather Brown
Photographs: Andrew Rankin

ImageFor just a moment forget everything you know about Cloncurry - that this is the last great cattle town, the home of the Flying Doctor and the pedal radio, where local cattleman Alexander Kennedy, then 82, agreed to finance the young Hudson Fysh and his fledgling QANTAS airline on the proviso that he would be the first commercial passenger.

Forget the wild reputation and the 36 hotels, the Kalkadoons - the proud warrior tribe, the bank robberies in the 30s, the wild mining history, forget even the shiny new prosperity from the Earnest henry gold mine.

Just remember that Cloncurry is the home of the Stockmen's Challenge, the gruelling test of horsemanship that identifies the best young performance horse in Australia.

Each July the nation's finest horsemen and women come to compete on three and four year-olds in an event open to any sex, any bloodline, any breed.

Entrants ride an exacting reining pattern - dressage at speed, if you like - then compete in a camp draft to qualify for the final.

It's tough on both horse and rider.

Just riding into the red sand arena is victory enough for many who have trained to be there. Story end

Full story Issue 13, October-November, 2000

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