Charleville rider takes Quilpie's Pride of the West
As the hooves thundered down the last leg of the course, kicking up the red dust, their rider's had one thing in mind - being crowned Quilpie's Pride of the West.
Quilpie's Pride of the West competition, arguably the biggest of its kind in Queensland, is a showcase of the fastest and most talented stock horses and riders in the region.
The race day, held over the weekend at the Bulloo Park racecourse in Quilpie, saw no blood, a lot of sweat and few tears as riders played to their strengths in a series of stock challenges, cutting and racing events.
The revered Santos Open Two Handed Cutting championship was won by Carolyn Burnes on Darlea Taping Fortissimo, with Darryl Ogden taking top honours in the Open Stockman's Challenge.
The event also hosted a large fashion on the field competition, with a family category added to this year's line-up.
Megan Hooper and Owen Cross won lady and gentleman of the day, and the Ferling McWaters family took home the prized barbecue for the best dressed family.
The race schedule started soon after lunch, and built with the heat, culminating in the last race of the day, the hard-fought Pride of the West.
The crowd was drawn trackside as the competitors flew from the gates.
Little Man with rider, Charleville local Danny Vetter, was closely tailed coming into the final yards, but held off the field to take the win, and the 2017 Pride of the West bragging rights.
Quilpie Diggers Race Club marketing officer Lyn Barnes said the race day ran without a hitch.
"Given the extreme weather warnings issued by BOM, the 2017 Hollings Constructions Pride of the West attracted a great crowd of competitors, locals and their visitors,” Ms Barnes said.
"Competitors came from all over the Channel Country and as far east as Roma and Chinchilla.
"Judge Rob Teague, the manager of the famous Ellerston polo complex and station near Scone, travelled north to oversee the competition.
"Given the enthusiastic responses of the competitors and the prospect of increased prizemoney in 2018, it was felt that the Pride of the West has a great future as one of the premier horse events of the Outback.”