David Mitchell rode in to Murrurundi on a horse he
barely knew, and rode out crowned King of the Ranges.
Not bad for the talented twenty seven year old
stockman from Tooma, who
borrowed his girlfriend’s five year old quarter horse Kimberley Rock only a week and a half before the challenge.
“I sold my horse after I won the Corryong challenge last month, so Kimberley Rock and I were a very late entry.
“I rode him every day for a week and a half before the
challenge, but that was all the training we had,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I put his first packsaddle on last Wednesday, then he had to step up into the truck on Thursday for the nine hour haul to Murrurundi.
“Considering this was his first ever challenge I think he is just a very talented, willing horse,” Mr Mitchell said.
This is the fourth time Mr Mitchell has competed in the challenge and this is his first win in Murrurundi.
“We equalled the top score in the packsaddle event, were one point behind the leader in the whip crack and we won the brumby catch,” Mr Mitchell said.
Second placegetter by eight points was his good friend, Sam Webb.
“Sam and I travelled up together from Tooma, so it was a good haul home with us both placing first and second,” Mr Mitchell said.
With the Corryong Man From Snowy River Stockman’s Challenge and now the Murrurundi King of the Ranges title under his belt, Mr Mitchell said he was looking forward to getting back to the farm and finding a new horse.
“I just handed in my notice as an agronomist last week and am going back to Tooma to work for my parents on the farm,” he said.
“I also make swinging fender (half breed) saddles so I’m looking forward to having some more time to do that.”
Mr Mitchell won the open section on 683.4 points
followed by Sam Webb on 675.95 and Rob Bandy on 669.85. Scott Bandy, Shane Piper, Bronson Macklinshaw, David Winter, Bret Jones, Neale Green and Ben Walsh were the other men’s finalists.
Cristy Connor won the ladies section on 531.25 points, in front of Sarah Connley on 503.25 and Sally Ham on 498.55.
The top three juniors were Cody Ballard who won his section on 513.15, followed by Paxton Pulford on 480.30 and Aaron Hedger on 474.65.