Matt Holtz secures second gold buckle

Matt Holtz secures second gold buckle

Matt Holtz secures second gold buckle

05 May 2024

Over the course of four exhilarating days, Willinga Park played host to the Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship 2024, drawing in 202 competitors from across Australia, including Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. This premier event showcased the best of Australian Campdraft talent.

The competition kicked off in spectacular fashion as 368 rider and horse combinations took to the arena for Rounds 1 and 2 on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Saturday 4 May, 43 combinations moved forward into the 2024 Ringers Western Gold Buckle Final, where the highest aggreate score of the Semi Final and Final determined the winner.

“Staying true to our mission of elevating campdrafting as a spectator sport, we livestreamed the entire event every day at” Nadine Young, Sales and Marketing Manager, Willinga Park said.

Over 40 hours of action was live streamed on Willinga Park TV where all campdraft enthusiasts were able to watch all the action and not miss a minute of the competition from around Australia and internationally, such as Canada and the US.  If anyone missed the livestream, they could visit Willinga Park TV YouTube to watch again.

The coverage, for the first time, included a daily round up, with renowned Campdraft personalities Dan Steers and former AFL star, Josh Gibson from 4CYTETM.   Dan and Josh joined forces to provide unique insights and analysis on the day's action.

The competition featured a panel of judges comprising David Reiter, Tom Williamson, and Wayne Smith, overseeing the competition's fairness. Commentators Glenn Morgan, Gavin Beard, and Lesley Dennien provided clear and informative commentary, adding depth to the viewing experience for spectators and participants alike.

This year’s Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship 2024 included the iconic Gold Buckle Championship, the State of Origin contest, the Feature Cut-Out competition, and Pilatus Ladies Dash for Cash. The event also showcased some of Australia’s finest upcoming drafters in the Juvenile and Junior Draft.

For the first time, the Stallion Draft saw 35 riders compete for $5,000 for first place.  Mark Buttsworth riding One Stylish Pepto, a 21-year-old stallion claimed victory on a score 92 with a 3-point margin.

The Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship 2024 was won by Matt Holtz riding Hazelwood Country Blues, securing the coveted Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship along with a $100,000 cash prize and Gold Buckle, with a score of 179.67. This marks Matt’s second win.

The Gold Buckle Open Draft Highest Aggregate Score was Matt Moffett on Snapchat with combined aggregate score of 359.67.  Matt took home the beautifully crafted Roohide Saddle.

After winning the Stallion Draft, Mark Buttsworth from Belmore River, NSW, riding Peps Double Rey was the 2024 Feature Cut-Out Final winner with 24 points.  This is Mark’s third year running winning the title of Feature Cut-Out champion, now known at Willinga Park as the Cut-Out King.

The Pilatus Ladies Dash for Cash was won by Bryony Puddicombe from Nebo, Qld, riding Destiny of Her Own with a combined score of 179.  Bryony took home $6,500 in cash as well as a 18ct solid white and rose gold pendant in the form of a Hereford steer is set on a 45cm fine 18ct solid white gold trace link chain.  The Hereford is set with a pair of small round brilliant cut black diamonds for eyes. The pedant is entirely designed and made in Australia for the Ladies Dash for Cash by Palomino Jewels.

The State of Origin saw 18 teams keeping the crowds going wild with team Kinloch Equine hailing from NSW consisting of Matt Holtz, Ben Hall and Andrew Sheridan taking out the honours of State of Origin Champions 2024 with a score of 33.39.

This year also saw 67 riders compete across the Junior & Juvenile drafts, with the youngest rider being just 9 years old.  Henry Mitchell riding Lockett took home the Junior Draft win and Patrick Shanahan riding Belldiva Condalesa was the Juvenile Draft winner competing alongside many aspirational upcoming young drafters.

Both the Junior and Juvenile Drafts were judged by Hugh Miles, from Hugh Miles Performance Horses.

The Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship Opening Ceremony started with a Willinga Park rider carrying the Australian flag, followed by the 43 Gold Buckle finalists and three judges.  Stephen Byron, from the Snow family welcomed and thanked all competitors and spectators and wished all finalist’s good luck.

Spectators were then treated to South Coast musical, Felicity Dowd, the Toyota Starmarker Grand Finalist 2024, Folk and Country Singer who sang the National Anthem which opened the Final of the Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship.

There was everything to entertain the spectators and competitors. Saturday saw spectators and competitors enjoy a day filled with adrenaline-fueled entertainment, with two performances scheduled on Saturday, witness jaw-dropping stunts and gravity-defying manoeuvres as the Airtime FMX Team pushes the limits of what's possible on two wheels, they promised an adrenaline-pumping spectacle for all in attendance, and they delivered.

The Trade Village was busy and contained over 14 trade stands for guests to shop, including the popular Signature Bull Ringers Western mobile Country Clothing store.

The Willinga Park bus tours took guests on a tour of the world-class Willinga Park showcasing the award-winning architecture, equine facilities, art sculptures and botanical gardens.

Guests enjoyed a rustic feast, with a country style rustic menu with smoky flavours homely comforts served from the Swamp Kitchen and drinks from the Swamp Bar, plus over 10 food trucks served guests over the four days. 

On the Friday evening, guests enjoyed drinks from the Swamp Bar under the Sperry Tent and welcomed local South Coast Felicity Dowd to the stage. 

To go out with a bang on Saturday evening, we welcomed Wade Forster, straight off the plane from Tasmania.   Wade hails from North-Western Queensland, country artist and Professional Rodeo Circuit Cowboy Wade Forster and was named the Toyota Star Maker in 2024.

Closing off an action filled four days, was rising star Sara Berki, born in Bundaberg, Queensland, and raised in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, who brought her fiery vocals to close off 4 days of epic campdraft action!