Pat Weldon and Zita Bonisch were two of the first Injune competitors in the Australian Campdrafting Association competition when it began in 1971.
45 years later and nothing much has changed.
You can’t quite tear them away from the sport, or each other for that matter!
“In the first competition Zita won the first lady rider and I was runner up,” says Pat.
“We’ve been working together ever since.”
They’ve been hard at work as part of the team organising this weekend’s Injune Campdraft and what is sure to be a record breaking weekend.
The committee has had an unprecedented show of interest from all across the state, and now have more than 200 on a waiting list to ride over the three-day event.
Maiden, Stallion and the Restricted draft will be held on Friday; the Novice, Ladies and Juveniles on Saturday and Maiden and Open on Sunday.
But in order to have so many competitors…they need a whole lot of cattle!
Thanks to generous donations from around the region, they will have close to 1400 cattle across the weekend.
Both ladies say they’ve been astounded watching the popularity of the sport grow in recent years.
“The biggest change has been the numbers,” says Zita.
“And the family atmosphere; mum, dad and the kids are all drafting.
“Once upon a time there weren’t many girls that rode, and when you got married, you stopped riding.”
And they would know…it’s certainly become a family affair!
Pat’s son George, daughter-in-law Kate and two grandsons, Fletcher and Hunter, were on hand to muster cattle on Thursday morning and are key recruits to help make the event a reality.
They say it’s all about doing their bit to encourage participation in the sport and make sure that all can enjoy what they love.
Whether that’s fixing fences, mustering, working the bar or in the kitchen the whole weekend is powered by volunteers from the community and all funds raised go right back into a local cause.
And at the end of the day it’s about having fun…and a little local rivalry.
Though both Pat and Zita have competed hundreds of times, they say there’s no magic formula for a win.
“It all comes down to the cattle,” says Pat.
“The luck of the cattle that come out on the cutting yard.”
The Injune Campdraft kicks off on Friday 22 April and runs through the weekend until Sunday 24 April at Possum Park, Injune.