I’ve been to Paradise…
This blog post comes to you with two warnings:
1. It’s long and image-filled. It might take a little while to download – I would apologise but I think you will understand why I really couldn’t cut it back much when you read it.
2. The image material is a bit breath-taking. Especially if you are any kind of horse-lover. Even if you’re not, I reckon you might be by the end.
You see, we took the weekend off to visit an annual event near Rockhampton (Central Queensland) that is considered the Melbourne Cup of Campdrafting. It’s big. It’s HUGE actually.
The venue – named Paradise Lagoons – was the dream of a man called Graeme Acton. Mr Acton is a successful cattleman who absolutely loves campdrafting. Most campdraft arenas are multipurpose – usually a showgrounds with yards built into the side of the ring with sparse facilities for competitors. Sometimes they are simply held in a paddock that gets slashed once a year for the sport.
In the spirit of Kevin Costner’s character from Field of Dreams, Mr Acton designed a place which caters for the campdrafter on a grand scale – a shaded camp area surrounded by lawned slopes and fabulous undercover bar and eating areas, THREE competitive arenas…
…powered sites for goosenecks and horse trucks (similar to a caravan park)…
and electronic scoreboards along with the most enormous screens to watch the action.
They even have a sandpit for the kids (in centre of pic below seperated by a concrete wall from the camp) to allow the adults to concentrate on the action without losing sight of their little ones!
Pretty much every campdrafter worth his or her salt, dreams of competing here.
All the rock stars of the Aussie cow horse world (both human and equine) were there, and the competition is incredibly fierce for the trophies and prizemoney (and prestige) up for grabs.
While three rings had campdraft action, cutting competition was also taking place in it’s own special arena…
Cutting is an American sport and the horses are real purty.
They tend to have flowing manes and crimped tails which emphasise the action as they dance back and forth, blocking a steer.
Snaffle bits and stock saddles are the go – but blingy belts are totally allowed!
There is one who rides in a green and red saddle – no prizes for guessing who that is.
Mr Acton was right in the thick of the action – showing those young whippersnappers how it was done!
After all – if you’re gonna build something like Paradise Lagoons (the Taj Mahal of Aussie Horse Sports) you’d want to be there looking to win it, wouldn’t you?
He nailed a 90+ score in this round!
Okay – a little less conversation, a little more ACTION!
The official presentations and speeches gave horses and audience a moment to catch their breath…
Winners are grinners…
‘Can Do’ Campbell Newman addressing the crowds – he received plenty of cheers for his attitude of action, and for his pledge to support rural industry. I love the expressions of those behind him, don’t you? Reckon they might be waiting to see results before they bust out in a Mexican wave…
We left Paradise for the trip home, happy and weary – and a tad blinged up.
Guess who? (Hint, not me!)
We talked him out of rhinestones – he adores this buckle!
I’m just happy to sit back and reflect on the result of one man’s dream (followed through by a mountain of action!).
I have to say I am thoroughly inspired…
What’s your dream?
Have you done something to turn it into action?