Jump In

June 06th, 2019
Jump In

This year's Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival in Strathalbyn is shaping up to be a jam-packed celebration of Australian country culture, showcasing just about everything associated with outback life from sheep shearing to cattle handling, camp fires and yarn spinning, while also putting the best South Australian food and wine on display alongside music and dancing over three chock-a-block days.

Stockman's Challenge President Kathy Angel started the event in 2012 with her daughter Noella and partner Shane Cooper, who was president until his death three years ago.

“We started this event in the model of The Man from Snowy River Challenge because we wanted to celebrate and encourage the great Aussie stockman culture, which is very much a part of our heritage in this country,” Kathy said.

“There is a sense of comradery and mateship that you get between challenge competitors that is hard to find in other sports.

“You have seniors mentoring juniors, everyone sharing their skills and helping each other out.”

Kathy – who runs The Riding Patch in Strathalbyn where the festival will be held – has overseen its growth in prominence and scope year after year.

“It's my whole life – people are still living like this out in the bush all across the country,” she said.

“90 per cent of our competitors will come from interstate – from WA, the NT and Queensland, the west coast and north of SA to northern NSW, Gippsland and everywhere in between.

Kathy said that while national culture continued to develop with people arriving from around the world, country culture was still as relevant as ever.

“It’s a chance to get that classic Australian bush experience – to speak the lingo, hear the stories and see the skills of our stockmen.”

The six preliminary events of the Stockman's Challenge – the jump challenge, whip cracking, bareback obstacle riding, cattle handling, horseshoeing and packhorse challenge – “go through all the skills you needed to be a stockman back in the day and still need today.”

“You need to be able to wake up in the middle of the night, jump straight on the horse and go chase after your cattle, you need to travel over long distances and pack appropriately and most importantly you need to look after your horse,” Kathy said.

“The preliminary winners move on to the finals for a chance to become 'Legends'; the juniors will compete in time trials, the women compete in a wild catch while the men do a wild catch and an eight-second poley saddle rough ride – with the same saddle they used throughout the competition.”

The Gunna Be Challenge for seniors and juniors is aimed at building confidence for new and improving riders like Indigo Seymour-Murray from Victoria who came second last year.
“She travels here from Victoria to take lessons and its really great to see new talent compete in the Gunna Be’s,” Kathy said.

The Billy Lids combo event will be held “for the eight to twelve-year olds who would otherwise be stuck watching their older brothers and sisters compete – it's a chance for them to have a go.”

The festival will include the Country Market Lane – showcasing products from SA and particularly Fleurieu Peninsula, with vendors offering distinctive food, wines and wares from the region.

“The festival side of the event is really ramping up this year,” Kathy said.

“We have music shows across the three days including country music star Mick Lindsay on Friday and bush dancing on Saturday.

“Champion whipcracker Stuart Bryant is coming from Victoria to do demonstrations and, of course, legendary stockman and bush yarn icon Dougie is hosting our drover’s campfire.”

The Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival will be held off Langhorne Creek Road just outside of Strathalbyn over September 13–15, with money raised supporting the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Tickets are on sale now at a 30 per cent discount for early birds.

For more information call 8536 3473 or visit http://www.lakeschallenge.com.au



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