By TONY WHITE
OVER 600 competitors, 900 head of cattle and a horde of spectators will converge on Ulmarra this weekend for the Ulmarra Show and Campdraft Society annual campdraft.
The event has attracted some of the best male and female campdrafters in Australia including Warwick Gold Cup winner, South Grafton's David Gillett.
The 24-year-old will be aboard his Warwick Gold Cup winning mare, Glitter.
After several years in hiatus, the Ulmarra campdraft was resurrected six years back and has continued to grow in numbers and stature.
Last year 338 competitors took part. Entries this year have been received from as far afield as Buladelah, Kempsey, Tenterfield, Tamworth, Murwillumbah, Ebor, Dorrigo plus all the leading locals.
Competitors range from six to 70-year-olds. Macksville's popular veteran John Stanton, who still competes all around Australia, will again saddle up at Ulmarra.
Other riders to watch include Ulmarra local Joe Jackson, a State junior champion, South Grafton's Dianne Bale and Jenny Thompson from Jackadgery.
The logistics of organising such a huge equine and bovine event are staggering.
"The 900 head of cattle took a lot of finding," Ulmarra Show and Campdrafting Society's affable secretary Alan Watkins said.
"The cattle come from 12-14 different owners from properties mainly in the Ulmarra and Deep Creek area."
White paint is defined on the cattle's head, rump, loins, neck and back to decipher the various owners' brands.
One of the major highlights of the event will be the blackies calf throwing event at approximately 5.30pm on Saturday evening.
Competitors are required to cull a specifically marked animal from a herd of 15 to 20 calves in an enclosed corral, perform a mock castration then brand the calf with paint in a specific area of the rump and place a peg on its ear.
Teams of three take part in the novelty event that is a real crowd-pleaser according to Watkins.
"We introduced it for the first time last year. It was hysterical," Watkins said.
"It's a lot harder than it seems and the crowd love it."
Feature event on the program is the Alf Crapp Memorial Feature Novice with $1200 and trophies up for grabs.
Junior barrel races are also a great crowd attraction.
Competition commences at 7am on Saturday and Sunday with finals for maidens, open and feature novice events staged at the completion of Sunday's program.