CUTTING COMPETENCE: The Copmanhurst Campdraft will kick off today at the Copmanhurst Recreation Ground.
CUTTING COMPETENCE: The Copmanhurst Campdraft will kick off today at the Copmanhurst Recreation Ground. Debrah Novak

Drafters come in droves for record-breaking competition

CAMPDRAFT: Jackadgery horseman Ben Thompson has had a stranglehold on the Copmanhurst Campdraft Open draft title for the past two years.

But he is going to have one hell of a time winning the title for a third consecutive year with a monstrous field of riders coming for the crown.

It is set to be a record- breaking weekend at the Copmanhurst draft with more than 1200 riders signed up for competition.

Opening events in the junior novice draft and the maiden draft have been moved forward this morning to cater for the size of the field with events kicking off at the Copmanhurst Recreation Ground at 10am.

Campdraft president David Chard said there were a number of factors going towards the abnormally large field of competitors, but it hinged on the safe and happy environment.

"People just keep coming back each year, we have had a few more blokes from the tablelands showing interest," Chard said. "It is a good safe ground and generally we have a good run of cattle in the draft."

Despite the lack of rain over the past month and feeds drying up across the Clarence Valley, Chard said the cattle "looked pretty good" for the draft.

The committee has sourced close to 1500 head of cattle from all up and down the Clarence River as farmers lend their hand to support the annual event.

With a sizeable field set for the event, Chard said the competition should be that much harder this year but he expected Thompson to still be among the field for the Open draft final.

"There is going to be good competition all weekend, the more people involved the more blokes have to push to be the best," he said. "Local guys like Ben Thompson and Brett Ellem are doing this every weekend and they are always hard to beat.

"There is a bit of incentive there for the local blokes as well. You know bragging rights and it is their hometown draft.

"But Tim McCarthy from Kempsey and his dad Ken are also great horsemen and they are usually there or thereabouts in campdraft."

A few of the earlier events have had the cattle cut to only one in the pen to help with time constraints and stretching cattle numbers.

With the size of the draft it has been a bit of a logistics nightmare for the committee but with everything in place now, Chard said he and his dedicated crew of helpers were excited for the event.

"We are just ready to go," he said. "There is a bar and canteen going all weekend, we have an Open calcutta on Saturday night and some live music. The doors are open for everyone to come."

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