Old champ holds off field

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

The prestigious Bob Trickett Memorial Gold Nugget Campdraft at Coolup at the weekend included more than 700 competitive rides.

One of the events was the running of the 19th Quilty Memorial restricted open which attracted a big field of 35 riders.

The first round produced a 91-point leader when Drew Gibbs, of Gingin, and his horse, Skip Sekoya, sizzled around the outside.

Henry Clifton, of Boyanup, took up the fast-paced challenge in the second round and the campdraft veteran became the first rider to chalk up three wins since the inception of the event in 1992.

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Riding his favourite horse, Haycliff Sambo, Clifton, 71, said he would keep riding the stallion as long as they could go for the big wins.

After winning his third Quilty, Clifton said he had not had so much fun since he rode his first pony to school at age six.

Ever since those early days, Clifton said he had been “glued to the saddle”, whether it was polocrosse or riding out some bucking broncs at the rodeo.

“Riding keeps you fit and campdrafting brings really good people together,” he said.

In the champion of champions one-round event, Clifton graciously bowed to the talent of the youth of the circuit when 16-year-old Tammy Connor, of Grafton, New South Wales, rode her personal best.

Connor, who began drafting aged eight, said she had won many juvenile competitions, but had never competed with open riders in such an event.

“It was amazing to be in a competition against all the champions,” she said.

Earlier, in the Drakesbrook Hotel Open Draft, the best of the best went hard, and out of a field of 104 entries, it came down to a run-off between Charlie Staite, of Mount Barker, and Eric Walmsley, of Yarloop, to decide the winner.

Staite and his horse, Docs to Cool, found one extra point from judge Michael Wilson, of Gundagai, NSW, to seal the victory.

“I was so pleased to be part of a close run-off,” Staite said.

“Most of the riders showed a lot of confidence in the competition,” judge Wilson said.

In the 191 entry maiden event, there were also some close scores and it, too, came down to a run-off between Bob Neuman, of Gingin, and Ron Cole, of Henley Brook.

Neuman had his horse, Dakota Full O Cdees, working like a champion to take the win.

A big field of 240 riders took to the arena in the novice event and Tony Ward, of Albany, riding Jewel, made two high-point rounds to claim victory.

“I dedicated my ride to the horse’s owner — Gavin Smith — who is being treated in hospital,” Ward said.

Junior riders Tylah Edwards and Samantha Kerr each had a win and in the juvenile event, Tammy Connor and Lauren Thurgood both rode to victory

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