Drafting keeps Bob young

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

Bob Neuman, of Gingin, said he was absolutely thrilled to win the recent Mayanup open campdraft.

It was a very successful weekend for the horseman because he also finished second in the restricted open on the horse he bred, broke and trained, Dakota Dynasty.

The 77-year-old former Montana cowboy said the Australian sport of campdrafting had extended his competitive career beyond anything he could ever imagine.

“Campdrafting is number one because it is so popular with so many good folks, including my entire family, and I get to watch my grandchildren have a go,” Neuman said.

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In his early years growing up on a ranch in Dickson, Montana, where he worked his father’s cattle by horseback, the young cowboy caught the rodeo bug in his early twenties.

“I was mostly self taught and liked the rough event they call bull dogging (steer wrestling),” he said.

Neuman also bought his first Quarter Horse stud and that began a real appreciation of owning a quality steed in Little Joe Wrangler.

By the time he was 29, Neuman was winning Montana bull dogging state titles and was ready for a new challenge.

It was then that he was confronted with the dream of owning a cattle station in Australia.

“The appeal of leaving the snow and cold weather behind was mighty attractive,” Neuman said.

After arriving in WA in 1970, it took some time for Neuman to adjust to the new environment. He finally settled on a leased property near Moora to set up a cattle operation.

Neuman also introduced the Dakota Quarter Horse stud to the State after importing a stallion from the US.

“The horse spent 50 days on a boat to get here,” he said.

“Being only the third Quarter Horse breeder in WA, I stepped up a notch with my horsemanship going to all sorts of clinics so I could promote my stud.”

It was in the 1980s that Neuman was introduced to campdrafting and he remembers his cutting skills were good enough, but getting the cow around the outside pegs was a different story.

“It holds true today — it takes a bit of luck to complete the outside course,” he said.

“But with experience, luck is usually on the horseman’s side, especially if they can read cattle.”

His first win came in a maiden with 214 entries and he has never looked back.

“This is my most successful season, winning the golden nugget at Coolup on my stallion Dakota Full O C Dees and placing well at the top in many recent drafts.”

Neuman said good control of a well trained horse came from letting go of the reins and using the legs more to communicate.

“If you can pick out a cow that wants to go, and your horse does everything you ask of it, then you have a good chance of winning a draft,” he said.

“And believe me, after riding horses my whole life, there is nothing better than the thrill of a successful campdraft run.

“You don’t necessarily have to always win, it’s about participating and included in the better days are when I get to watch my sons and daughters or their children have a go at victory.”

Neuman said he felt very lucky to find so many good people involved in WA campdrafting.

“I think the chill of Montana is truly out of my system, and being a WA cowboy now suits me just fine,” he said.

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