How The ABCRA Started

The sports of Campdrafting and Roughriding in Australia were born in the bush. Men of the country pitted their riding skills and horseflesh against one another … as entertainment in harsh conditions. Stock "camped" for the night, were "drafted" to demonstrate who was the superior horseman and who had the best horses. From this simple beginning, the uniquely Australian sport of "Campdrafting" developed.

A Brief History of Campdrafting & Rodeo in Australia

The wild brumby and range stock proved to be an exhilarating test of man’s courage, tenacity and skill. Travelling tent rodeos such as Skuthorpes, were a regular sight in the 1920s and ’30s, with circuit competitors and spectators alike, having a go in the ring. Bushmen’s Carnivals originated in Northern NSW in the 1920s and were well established by the 1930s. The end of World War II saw a revival of the carnivals and the birth of the tradition of donating proceeds to local charities.
On the 28th of March 1946 at the Imperial Hotel in Maitland NSW, a meeting was held and an association to be known as the Northern NSW Bushmen’s Carnival Association was formed for the purpose of coordinating and assisting all carnivals conducted by affiliated committees.
By 1954 affiliation of committees from Queensland, the name was changed again in 1960 to The Australian Bushmen’s Carnival Association. In 1985, on July 17th, the association became a company limited by guarantee, marking a radical change in its administration and a name change to the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft & Rodeo Association (ABCRA).   

The Australian Bushmen's Campdraft & Rodeo Association Today

Today,  almost 75 years since its conception in 1946 the ABCRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse equine peak body. 

Boasting a growing membership of more than 5,000 and affiliating over 200 Committees across Australia, the ABCRA are extremely proud of our affiliates who conduct in excess of 500 events annually across Australia attracting thousands of competitors and fans alike. 

Our Association continues to evolve as we affiliate a wide range of equine sports and discipline including:

  • Campdraft 
  • Rodeo
  • Challenge Sorting & Penning
  • Challenges 
  • Team Penning 
  • Clinics/Training Days 
  • Gymkhana/Sporting Events
  • Jackpot Times Events 

Although the typical competition is likely to have a direct association with the land, the increasing profile of rodeo and Campdrafting, now sees competitors from all walks of life. 
What will never change is the family appeal; both in spectating and competing, the ABCRA actively encourages novice and junior competitors in both rodeos and Campdrafts.   

The ABCRA conducts a point scoring system to determine National Champions, which does not discriminate against less financial committees and puts the emphasis on sportsmanship and consistent competition. Results from all affiliated committees are sent to Head Office where the points are recorded to five places for each member. From this recording system, the National High Point Standings are computed.   

As a Spectator or Competitor, if you would like to know more about the equine sports affiliated with the ABCRA please Contact our friendly staff today

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