Cowboy Australian Style in Colorado: Adrenalin and Cow Sense Together Make for A Great Event
Kiowa, Colorado- April 3, 2013 - The first ever campdrafting event will be held in Kiowa, Colorado August 23-25, 2013. All are invited to come learn, watch, bring a horse or don’t and audit the clinic – it will be fun regardless with things to do for the whole family. The idea was born when a handful of local business people, involved in an informal “roundtable discussion”, were given an assignment. Their task? To discover new ways to drive visitor-traffic into beautiful and horse-loving Elbert, County Colorado.
These folks took their assignment seriously and have gone so far as creating the US Camp Draft Association and have already planned their first major event, and major it is. They have enlisted the help of two campdraft clinicians from Australia named Peter Comiskey and Steven Hart to help some American equestrians learn how to “cowboy” Australian style. Comisky also happens to be the Australian National Champion in the sport. The Aussies are thrilled to help and Elbert County is thrilled they are coming. These talented clinicians will teach a two-day clinic on August 23rd and 24th and then hold an open competition on the 25th. All the action will take place at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa.
Campdrafting, as it is known, is an event not totally unlike some of America’s stock horse and team penning events – but as Australians seem to be known for – it generates a bit more adrenaline. Under Australian Campdraft Association rules, horse and rider begin in a herd of at least six cattle, called a “mob,” in a small pen (the “camp”), connected to a large circular arena. One of the primary differences between this and the American events like it is that these cattle are not calves or young adults – they are fully matured bovines who don’t usually want to be pushed around. With two helpers minding the gate to the arena, the competitor cuts the selected cow from the herd and works it for a short, preset amount of time until the rider demonstrates to the judges’ satisfaction he or she has control of the cow. So the event combines some cutting, some penning and wait, there’s more.
Once the rider is ready, the helpers allow the cow and rider through the gate to the arena, which is known as a “draft”. There, the team has 40 seconds to guide the cow through a cloverleaf pattern of cones. The cow must be turned in a figure 8 around the first two cones and then be driven in several other directions around the cones without knocking any cones down. If cow or rider knocks one down they are disqualified -- not that the cow cares. All the moves in the draft are typically performed at high speed because this is a timed event.
One reason that this campdraft event should be a success in states is that America invented the Quarter Horse although any horse can be used. In an AQHA Journal article about the upcoming Kiowa event, “The Quarter Horse adds ‘a tractability’ to the horses,” said Australian breeder Terry McKinnon, who breeds both purebred Quarter Horses and crosses with Australian Stock Horses. The horses (Quarter Horses) are every bit as smart and they have a little better mindset.”
Visionary and local feed store owner, Mary Harris first came up with the idea after an Elbert County Business Roundtable meeting. Then she told two friends and they told two friends and so on; currently the US Campdraft Association meets several times a week planning the upcoming event. The event is perfectly suited for the rural but not-so-remote Elbert County. Elbert County is less than an hour’s drive from downtown Denver; an easy day-trip for the family yet a world away from the city. Recently a two-county study was conducted that concluded the horse industry in Elbert and Douglas Counties is worth an estimated $110-135,000,000 dollars. The horses are there and horses attract more horses and people. The Elbert County Campdraft committee is aggressively seeking sponsors, donors and volunteers.
Campdrafting is ideal for Colorado as it does not require a particular equestrian discipline – Colorado is filled with horses of all flavors, saddles with horns and saddles without. Campdrafting simply requires horse and rider to work together and outsmart a cow. That shouldn’t be so hard – should it?
About U.S. Campdraft Association US National Campdraft Association is committed to bringing and promoting the sport of campdrafting to the United States and North America. Visit: www.campdraft.us
About the American Quarter Horse Journal The world’s largest single-breed monthly publication, The American Quarter Horse Journal has served the industry as the most valued resource for critical news, timely information and insightful articles for more than 60 years. Visit: http://aqha.com/journal
About Elbert County Elbert County is the 21st most populous of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county population is an estimated 23,000. The county seat is Kiowa. Despite its location on the eastern plains, Elbert County is part of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area. Visit: www.elbertcounty-co.gov