Never too old to ride
MID-FORTIES might be too late for some to start competition in campdrafts, but not for Kingaroy drafter Bernie Hunter.
While Hunter, 50, did make a late start, horses and cattle have been his life for as long as he can remember.
The physically demanding sport requires drafters to look after themselves while pushing their horses to the fastest possible time.
But for Hunter, who has spent much of his life in the outdoors, this is a passion he loves.
"I finished playing league, and we always had horses, so I started doing campdrafts," he said.
With a handful of years competing under his belt, Hunter has lost track of precisely how long he has been part of the sport for.
"I've been doing campdrafts for a couple of years now - probably four years," he said.
With that, he has looped in his family, including his wife Pauline Hunter, who competes alongside him in the campdraft circuit.
While he mostly just competes, he is more than happy to pass over the responsibility of breaking in the horses to his son-in-law Chris Kelly.
In true competitive spirit, when asked who the better campdrafter was, Hunter with a wry smile pointed out he had two horses in the Kumbia campdraft final while his wife was knocked out in the rounds.
"I've got four horses in the circuit, and got two in the finals," he said.
"We share between us, so my wife might ride in one class and I'd ride the others."
Hunter put his success down to the years spent working with horses, with which he still applies some skills to his horses today.
He also takes the time to get to know his campdraft horses from when they are young to learn about their unique abilities, which he helps build upon to aid him in the arena on competition days.
"We got most of our horses as yearlings and broke them in from there," Hunter said.
"It takes years working the best ability of them.
"All our horses have got pretty good breeding.
"The more drafts you do, the better the horses get."
Hunter and his wife tend to compete in campdrafts nearer to home, seldom travelling more than a few hours away, lending a hand where they can.
"We helped building the yards (at Kumbia)," he said.
"Then we've got the Manumbar campdraft next weekend."
With just a few days before Hunter competes again, he will go straight back to prepping his horses to keep them in the best possible shape ahead of the next campdraft.
"We will try and work the horses through the week," he said.