One of the fastest growing equestrian sports in the world will be on show at Mount Rowan this weekend when the Downunder Extreme Cowboys hold their national titles.
Unlike rodeos, these cowboys and cowgirls will take their horses through a challenging obstacle course that is timed and scored for horsemanship and execution.
Traditional cowboy skills like roping are included, but the course is designed to test the horse and rider's versatility. The obstacles test the horse's adaptability, willingness to work and the rider's skill at negotiating obstacles with jumps, bridges, water and dragging of logs all part of the course.
Up to 100 riders, some as young as seven, will compete across eight divisions over the weekend with each riding two rounds of the course on their horse.
On the judging panel will be Diana McMurtrey, one of the top judges from the US, who has flown over for the weekend, and world champion Magen Warlick.
Shane Woodall helped bring the sport to Australia in 2015.
"I had been looking for something that was not slow and boring to ... show horsemanship and the training I put in to my horses," he said.
He helped found Australia's first extreme cowboy club at Rokewood, which now has about 100 members including young guns world champion Ryan Nowell, 12, and has assisted another six or seven clubs across Australia to establish.
Mr Woodall, who was inducted in to the Extreme Cowboys Hall of Fame last year, competed in the world finals in Texas at the end of 2017, and qualified again last year but was unable to make the trip.
"It's a really family oriented, supportive sport. Our youngest division is young guns for riders aged 7 to 11, right through to pro classes and the ride smart class for riders over 55. My father is 71 and still competing," he said.
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The Downunder Extreme Cowboys national titles run from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday at the Mount Rowan Equestrian Centre. Spectators are welcome. Tickets: $10 individual weekend pass or $25 for a family weekend pass.
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