Campdrafting’s Spiritual Home, Iconic Outback Experience
The annual Paradise Lagoons Campdraft (PLC) is the spiritual home of the Australian horse sport Camp Drafting, one of only three sports invented in Australia. Hosted at a multi-million dollar, purpose-built facility, it is one of the most anticipated regional sporting events in Australia and attracts up to 12,000 competitors and spectators from far and wide to the Beef Capital of Australia, Rockhampton, in Central Queensland.
To cater for the ever-growing competitor and general spectator numbers, in addition to hosting the Campdraft, Cutting, Camp Draft State of Origin, and trade show sites, the event offers an Eat Street, Ladies Luncheon (ticketed event), Friday Night Whisky Saloon (ticketed event), celebrity ambassadors, country music entertainment and other acts. Paradise Lagoons Campdraft was the vision of late Australian cattleman Graeme Acton and his family. The event continues to grow in caliber and size each year.
Established in 2003, just like its founder, Paradise Lagoons Campdraft custodians and organizers have a grand vision and want it to become an even more iconic annual tourism event through added entertainment, attractions and accommodation offerings. While the event runs over four days with the competition starting sun-up on Thursday and culminating in the hotly contested finals Sunday afternoon – the weekend frivolity kicks off from Friday afternoon.
Competitors, spectators and attendees can be promised an action-packed weekend suitable for all ages and representing significant value for money.
Since its inception, Paradise Lagoons Campdraft has supported local charities and two major beneficiaries, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service. Together they have benefited to a sum in excess of $365,000. The 2018 event will continue this tradition.
The Sport of Campdrafting
The sport of campdrafting has its origins in the early days of the Australian stockman, and is believed to have begun in rural Queensland in the early part of the twentieth century. It is one of only three sports established in Australia along with Polo and Aussie Rules Football.
When drovers needed to select individual cattle from a mob to drive them to a separate holding area, the stockman would “cut out” the beast from the mob. This was achieved through the skills of the horse and rider to block the attempts of the beast to follow his natural instincts in returning to the mob. Over time, stockmen developed competitions based around this activity, which have evolved into the uniquely Australian sport as we know it today.
The sport today is conducted in a set of yards attached to an arena and requires the competitor to “cut out” a beast from the yard or “camp”, follow it out through the open gate into the arena where he must guide the beast around a course of a right and left hand turns before guiding it through a gate, all in a few short minutes. (See diagram below) Points are scored by horse and rider for cut out, horse work and course completion, from a possible total of 100 points.
A good campdrafter is not just a fine horseman, but has the skill to select a suitable beast from the mob that will run well. The prestige associated with a win in a campdraft of several hundred competitors is invaluable to the owner of the horse, as the winning horse is ranked amongst the finest stock horses in the country.
– Source: Australian Campdrafting Association