Cowboys to dust of boots for cricket whites this weekend
RAY Taylor isn't your typical cattleman- turned-cricketer.
The 66-year-old from Buckleton, a property located 20km south of Springsure, drives a few thousand head of cattle and sheep for all but one weekend a year.
That weekend - the Australia Day long weekend - is this weekend.
Ray, his brother Shane, 62, son Damien d his grandson, Jackson, 12, are swapping their riding boots, jeans and cowboy hats for their cricket whites, bats and pads and venturing into Rockhampton to compete in the annual Frenchville Sports Club Country Week carnival.
They'll join some 450 cricketers across 38 teams who have signed up to play in the 40-over competition across tomorrow, Sunday and Monday.
The quartet, who play for the Bushrangers in the third grade concrete competition, are at it again in 2014, some 40 years after Ray first started playing in the three-day competition.
And the reason why?
"The whole competition is played in such a good spirit," Taylor said.
"It's a really good weekend - something to look forward to each year."
FRENCHVILLE SPORTS CLUB COUNTRY WEEK CARNIVAL
Saturday, Sunday and Monday at various Rockhampton cricket ovals.
40-over matches scheduled to start at 9am daily.
Tweet the action (comments, scores, images) this weekend during the Country Week Carnival matches with hashtag #cqcountrycarnival to feature here on The Bulletin.
It's been a while between bowling spells for Taylor, who missed last year's competition - as everyone did - due to the flooding in Rockhampton.
"This time last year we didn't play, but we weren't complaining," he said.
"You can never have too much rain - you can't make any money out of dust."
A former Springsure team member, Taylor's new team, the Bushrangers, got their name from his wife Betty, who thought it was an apt description of the blokes in the team.
They have been playing in the competition together as the Bushrangers since 1997.
Playing in third grade on the concrete pitches, Jepson and his Bushrangers teammates take on Mt Morgan Cavaliers in their opening match of the annual tournament.
A one-time opening batsman and bowler, Taylor's best bowling figures in the tournament came some 22 years ago when he picked up 8-32 in a single match, which would have to go close to being the best figures in the history of the tournament.
However, he's yet to crack a ton with the bat - Taylor has a top score of 85 - but isn't giving up on it just yet.
And, as for a time to retire?
"My head wants to play but the body isn't so keen," Taylor said. "But, I'll keep playing or involved until I'm not living anymore."
The Bushrangers start their carnival with a match against Mt Morgan Cavaliers.