Walcha family ride high at campdraft

A WALCHA family has scored the ultimate trifecta at the Landmark Classic Campdraft and Sale with two of their horses taking out top sales and a family member winning the campdraft title. 

Bruce and Julie McNaughton truly had luck on their side when their son Ben won the overall $35,000 campdraft prize and two of their mares sold for $71,000 and $60,000 respectively. 

Their horses were part of the three-day record-breaking sales, including a stallion that sold for more than $100,000, that rounded up the annual week-long event at the weekend.

The campdraft and sale is Landmark’s biggest event of the calendar year.

The sixth annual event didn’t fail to draw attendees.

Thousands attended the sale from Friday to Sunday after consistent crowds watched the campdrafting events at the start of the week.

Buyers, breeders, sellers and campdraft competitors filled the grounds of Tamworth’s 

Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre with their specially fitted-out trucks and rigs.

They came from across the country, with many coming from flood-ravaged Queensland. 

Dozens more worked tirelessly behind the scenes, including Tamworth man John Vernon, who took the week off to co-ordinate all the livestock.

He and his team made sure the two thousand head of cattle ran into the arena on time.

Other helpers, such as stock- hands, tended to all the horses’ grooming and feeding needs.

Some have come to the event since it began six years ago, while it was the first and second time for others.

More than 100 competitors had taken to the campdrafting arena on former Landmark sale steeds – a requirement for all horses competing in the event.

It was Ben McNaughton who took out the overall prize on his horse, Ranch Jannali, but another $165,000 or so was on offer for other riders.

The sales that followed the campdraft were the highest on record, with a stallion owned by the One Stylish Pepto Syndicate going for $120,000.

In all, the sale grossed an unprecedented $4.75 million from the 540 catalogued horses.

Geldings sold well above average prices, with the 148 sold taking more than $200,000. 

Landmark national equine administration manager Amanda Nicholson said all three average price records for geldings, mares and stallions had been broken.

“Overall, we had the highest sale, breaking the top price record,” Ms Nicholson said.

She said the Landmark staff were pleased with the 2013 event and preparations had already begun for next year.

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