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Coonamble campdraft postponed

Western Plains App

River McCrossen

06 June 2024, 3:39 AM

Coonamble campdraft postponedDon't worry, the rodeo is still on. PHOTO: River McCrossen

Coonamble’s biggest campdraft will not go ahead this long weekend after days of rain deterioated road conditions and left the competiton low on cattle numbers.

The Coonamble Rodeo & Campdraft committee made the call Wednesday afternoon on 5 June, with trucks unable to access and transport cattle to Coonamble Showgrounds, particularly via the largley unsealed Wingadee Road north of the town.


The rodeo on Saturday and Sunday will still go ahead and organisers are looking at a potential new campdraft date in August. 

Committee Secretary Steve Butler said the competition only had 300 of the around 1500 head needed to run. 


“We were unable to access local properties that donated cattle for the draft,” Mr Butler told the Western Plains App not long after the decision.


“A lot of our cattle came in from the Wingadee area and the road was in that bad a condition. Even before the rain it was very difficult to access that area, but today’s rain has just topped it off.


“It made it impassable for trucks.


“Some years we do walk them to town, but because they’re spread out across the district this year we were planning to truck them.”


Mr Butler said rains also made the campdraft arena unsafe for competitors and animals, which can slip on the surface.

The committee made the call during a 4pm meeting. When the Western Plains App visited competition participants camped at the local showgrounds around 5pm that day, many were already aware of the postponement. 


The App saw participants packing vehicles and leaving the camp areas.

Renee is only taking part in the rodeo, but she has family who were to join the campdraft.


Rodeo barrel racer Renee Craig found out ten minutes before speaking to the App.


“It’s mother nature,” she laughed. “It tells us what we can and can’t do.”


“We’ve got to actually praise the people that donate the cattle, and we need to respect the fact that we need to get in and out of their properties to get them.


“I think it’s going to maybe put a little bit of a dampener on the weekend, but look, the rodeo’s still on and we do get a crowd for that.


“You’ve just got to make the best of the situation you’re given.”

Geoff and Sue Willis are heading back to Wagga Wagga after their stay in Coonamble was cut short. 

Chatting near a campfire on the showgrounds with friends, Wagga-based open campdraft judge Geoff Willis came to Coonamble with wife Sue and teenage daughter Zoe. 


He appeared cheerful when he spoke to the App, even if he was disappointed. 


“You can’t change the weather. That’s the way it goes,” Geoff said. 


“We’re from down south so this is pretty much the end of our season, so we’ll pack up stumps now and just wait until next season.


“We’ll leave in the morning.”


The four-day show usually attracts thousands of spectators, cowboys and cowgirls and is a major earner for the Coonamble economy.