King of the Ranges: PHOTOS

THE King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival is on a winner following its move to February, according to committee president Earl Kelaher.

One of the highlights on the Murrurundi calendar, the annual event was brought forward in 2016 to avoid it clashing with other tourism attractions around the region.

“We think it will be a positive [move] – and, so far, it is,” he said on Friday.

“At this time of the year, there are more daylight hours available to us.

“In May, we were competing against too many other things.

“But, this weekend, we’ve drawn competitors from South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and throughout NSW.

“There are a lot of locals, too, which is extremely pleasing.

“Another plus is the amount of grey nomads we’ve attracted.

“They’re helping out as volunteers.

“And, with events such as this, that’s pretty handy.”

Two special guests to the King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival are Peter Jupiter and Gerald Aplin, from the Doomadgee area in North Queensland.

The pair visited Murrurundi Public School on Tuesday to help build a connection with the town’s youth.

The indigenous stockmen have been residing in Murrurundi for more than six weeks, preparing for the event.

Mr Jupiter and Mr Aplin are both participating in the disciplines of whipcrack, cattle-handling, bareback, horse-shoeing and cross country.

King of the Ranges’ 2015 champion Bronson Macklinshaw has also returned to defend his crown.

Big crowds are expected to converge on Murrurundi over the weekend, with the finals scheduled for Sunday.

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