Kilkivan setting for ultimate test
RIDERS, horses and strapping crews will travel from across Australia and overseas to compete in the Tom Quilty Cup in Kilkivan in June - the ultimate test of endurance where participants aim to complete a 160km course within 24 hours.
The first heavyweight or middleweight division competitor across the finish line wins the 2013 Tom Quilty Gold Cup award. The original perpetual cup is a permanent exhibit at the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland.
For most competitors, the overall aim is to complete the five-leg course and receive an esteemed Quilty Buckle Award. In the spirit of the ride's motto - To Complete is to Win - a specially crafted belt buckle goes to every successful competitor in recognition of the high standard of horsemanship required to complete the rigorous course. This means many long hours in the saddle and the careful tending of tiring horses.
At the end of the race, each mount is vetted and must be deemed in sound condition and fit to continue.
In 2013, the 48th Tom Quilty Cup is expected to attract a record number of rider/horse teams, Kilkivan Endurance Riders Club president Very Berry said.
"This is due to the central location of the venue at Kilkivan, the riding conditions during Queensland's mild winter and the historic significance of the course - the third leg covers part of the Cobb & Co Heritage Trail."
Berry expects the 2013 Quilty will attract around 330 competitors, including more than 20 international riders from countries such as from Japan, the US, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and New Zealand. Many of these riders also travel to California in the US for The Tevis Cup ride which also covers 160km in one day and is considered the most challenging endurance ride in the world.
With the ride starting at midnight on June 7, horse and rider as a team are challenged over 160km in the next 24 hours, proving the Quilty is Australia's best test of true horsemanship.
Nominations officially close on May 15.
"We could not run such an event of this magnitude without the support of our valued sponsors, volunteers and local community," Berry said.
To find out more go to the Kilkivan Quilty website http://www.kilkivanquilty.com or register as a volunteer.