State of Origin campdraft draws crowds at Paradise Lagoons
CAMPDRAFT: It was state versus state on Saturday, with a stream of maroon and blue lighting up the main arena at Paradise Lagoon Campdraft.
Around 4000 spectators turned out to the event.
Former Wallabies captain and Rockhampton product Stephen Moore did the honours of the coin toss for the Queensland v New South Wales main event.
"This is a great event in Central Queensland and being in the cattle industry myself, it's nice to be back here at home, seeing familiar faces and being a part of the Campdraft,” he said.
The Qld side, captained by Evan Acton was Moore's bet to take the win, and he wasn't disappointed, with the maroon riders winning the event.
He also named former school-mate Sam Hughes as one to impress.
"It's incredible. The skill level is high. It's a always a big event on the Campdraft calendar and it's nice to be part of it,” Moore said.
"It's always a great rivalry, whether it's in campdrafting, rugby league, union, whatever it might be. State rivalry is a big part of sport or events that go on and it creates a great community and great passion among supporters.
Campdraft committee member Russell Hughes said the event was getting "better and better every day”.
"The cattle are running really well and there's some incredible high scorers,” he said.
"It's some of the best campdrafting we've had here in many years.
"Today we finalised some of the events and from that we had some tight scores, they were very close with people winning by one point over their nearest competitor.”
Hughes said the $400,000 raised by the end of the weekend would be going to a variety of charities and major beneficiaries including the Royal Flying Doctors Service and the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service.
He also thanked the 125 volunteers who manned the back gate, took times, announced events and helped move the 3500 head of cattle present over the weekend.
"This start as an idea of Graham Acton's 20 years ago,” Hughes said.
"He decided he wanted to put on Australia's best camp draft adn I suggest he's succeeded.
"The social calendar has also grown over the years, with more town people out. Over the weekend we ran a Ladies Lunch, which has run for eight years, and there were 350 ladies there listening to Libby Moore, Oprah Winfrey's former Chief of Staff for 11 years.”
Yesterday Moore also spoke at the Yenda Yarns event.
"He's the second most capped Australian union player, played 129 games for Australia and also has more super rugby games than anyone, 177 games,” Hughes said.
"He's a lovely bloke. We invite a sports person up each year and we've had a variety of league players.
"Scott Prince came up two years ago, Shane Webke, we had Max Walker the cricketer years ago, and this year we thought we'd try something different.”
Campdraft president Tom Acton said there had been up to 7000 people through the gates up until Sunday afternoon.