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Family keen to keep the campdrafting tradition alive

IN THE BLOOD: Campdraft competitor Wayne Knudsen will have granddaughter Riley cheering him at Kilkivan on this weekend.
IN THE BLOOD: Campdraft competitor Wayne Knudsen will have granddaughter Riley cheering him at Kilkivan on this weekend. Tanya Easterby

THE one thing decorated campdrafter Wayne Knudsen really wants for his grandchildren is to keep alive the family tradition of cattle handling.

The grandfather of seven, soon to be eight, said he looked forward in years to come to heading out with his walking frame to watch his children's children go campdrafting.

If they do, they will be upholding a tradition passed down over four generations.

But for now Mr Knudsen remains happy to stay in the saddle, with three-year-old granddaughter Riley watching on behind the railings of the Kilkivan Showgrounds main arena.

Mr Knudsen, who turns 67 later this month, is in Kilkivan for the Australian Campdrafting Association national finals.

He's travelled from his cattle farm in Kilbeggan, just north of Chinchilla to compete on two novice and two open horses at the venue, where he hasn't competed for more than three decades.

During those three decades, however, he's competed in hundreds of campdrafts and taught a thing or two - or perhaps a lot more than that - about riding to his four sons, all of whom grew up on the back of a horse and have stayed there ever since.

"Hopefully, I've taught them most of what I know," he said.

For Mr Knudsen and his sons Darcy, Rick, Peter and Ken, campdrafting is a way of life on their property, which has been in the family since 1939.

"It's a continuation of the work we do at home," he said of competitive campdrafting.

The four boys have helped their father run some 10,000 head of cattle across the thousands of acres that make up the vast family farm.

Those boys are now fathers to children of their own, with wives who are also well and truly accustomed to throwing a saddle and bridle on a horse.

Mr Knudsen said it was of prime importance to him for his grandchildren to carry on the family's ways of mustering and cattle handling.

With the eldest of the growing group of grandkids already into minidrafts, there's no doubt tradition will carry on.

"Handling cattle is a dying art. They will be campdrafters," he said.

"I'll be able to roll up to campdrafts, get my walker out and watch them do campdrafts," Mr Knudsen joked.

Topics:  campdraft gympie kilkivan

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