Penning draws big crowd
RODEO and equestrian fans may not know it but regular western sporting activities are going on right under their nose.
The Mid North Coast Team Penning Association conducts monthly competitions at Macksville Showground.
Next date is this Saturday with a 3pm sign-on for riders.
Another competition will be held on February 19.
Team penning evolved from the same ranch work seen in western films, where a group of horsemen work against the clock to separate yearling stock from a herd and put them into a designated part of the arena.
Publicity officer Phil Grace said the local association had been holding meetings for about five years.
“We often get 40 or 50 riders taking part and it turns out quite a spectacle finishing under lights,” he explained.
“Riders take part on stock horse or quarter horse ... we even have juniors from the pony club getting out there.”
Stock is sourced from local properties and hired for the meeting.
“There’s always a small amount of cash to go with the ribbons, so it is always a fun way to spend a Saturday,” Grace added.
Saturday will see the first event without club stalwart Don Purcell, who has gone into retirement.
“Don was very active on the organising committee, a great competitor and we thank him for all his work,” Grace said.
“We will miss him and suspect he may be spending too much time with his horse-drawn vehicles and doesn’t have enough time to chase cattle around dusty yards anymore.
“I hope to see him on a horse somewhere.”