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Sun. May 26th, 2024

One of NSW’s most popular Stockman’s Challenges, the King of the Ranges, will return to Murrurundi this September. The intense, three-day challenge and the associated Bush Festival, will be held from the 22nd to the 24th of September at the Rosedale Horse Complex and, as always, promises to showcase some of the nation’s finest stockmen and women.

Representative for the festival, Kalen Sowter, says, “The King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge is rebuilding after a tough couple of years (flooding, COVID) with a new committee and re-energised members. We are a small but committed team of volunteers working hard to put on an exciting not for profit event.”

According to the official website, the Challenge is inspired by local bushman Archie ‘Bung’ McInnes. The website says, “Archie was known far and wide as the ‘King of the Ranges’ for his ability to track and catch wild brumbies and cattle in the ranges around the Upper Hunter and his ability to ride a buck jumper.”

The challenge itself was first held in 2004, with this year celebrating the 19th year of these Stockman’s Challenges.

The Challenge requires competitors to gain the highest number of points across a range of events. Those with the highest points will be eligible to compete in the final on Sunday. The events include Bareback Riding, Shoeing, Stock Handling, Whip Cracking, Pack Saddle, and a Cross Country Obstacle Course.

With a prize pool of over $34,000 on offer this year, competition is bound to be fierce.

If you’re not quite up to the challenge of competing, there’s more than enough to keep spectators of all ages. Asides from watching all the action unfold in the Challenge, the annual Bush Festival will also be held.

This year’s Bush Festival will feature markets, a junior whip cracking school, working dog, horse and sheep shearing demonstrations, live music and plenty of amazing food and good times. You can even try your luck at winning Dog Pee Lotto.

2023 will also see the first annual Camp Oven Cook Off Competition. So, if you’re not up to horsemanship, but are feeling competitive, you can still try your hand at taking away a title for the weekend.

Entry to the Stockman’s Challenge is open up to the 21st of August, so if you’re interested in competing, head over to the website and complete the nomination form.

Tickets for onsite camping, and to attend the festival are also on sale now via TryBooking.

For more updates about both the Challenge and Bush Festival, keep an eye on the King of the Ranges Facebook page.

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