Local campdrafter still riding in strong after 50 years
THE Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft has a long history in the Rose City,
Warwick local Michael Boyce, now in his late 70s, has been competing in the Gold Cup Campdraft for 50 years, having first attended the iconic event in 1947.
"I've lived in Warwick all my life but I'm out at Nobby now," Mr Boyce said.
"I've been coming to the campdraft for 60 years; I won Canning Downs in 1992."
Mr Boyce said love of horses kept him in the sport.
His family shares his passion for the horse industry with many of his children and grandchildren involved in campdrafting.
"Every weekend I'm out at a campdraft and my whole family is into horses," he said.
"My granddaughter (Georgie Stower) just won Warwick Rodeo Queen and she rode a horse I broke in at the parade, and another granddaughter is a jockey.
"You take Georgie and what she's going to learn from becoming Rodeo Queen - she'll never forget that for the rest of her life."
Mr Boyce's son Hugh is an announcer at the Gold Cup Campdraft.
He said that unlike some sports that rule out older competitors, campdrafters could continue to compete for many years.
"You certainly learn by experience but we've got a lot of young riders as well," he said.
"It's a wonderful sport where you can ride your own horses and there are better opportunities now than when I was first starting out.
Mr Boyce said he was pleased to see the event grow over the years to become the Melbourne Cup of campdrafting.
"This is definitely the biggest yet, and it'll only get bigger," he said.
"Years ago there were only 80 horses in the Gold Cup and the rodeo had their own buckjumpers, and now people are coming from all different parts of Australia.
"Things have definitely changed for the better, the grounds are a lot better and safer and people look after the cattle better because there are more competitors.
"I think if there was a campdraft run here and in Stanthorpe and Toowoomba they would all be filled up.
"It's a massive thing to run each year with all the cattle suppliers and the volunteer workers who help out behind the scenes."