Host: Kalyeeda Station
Written by Wave Camp – Owner, Kalyeeda Station.
Even though the horses undertake an important role in Kalyeeda work life, the bikes here also have a vital part to play. Obviously they’re very helpful to have on musters and while walking cattle away from the yards, as they keep the cattle moving and are able to keep a mob flowing but still under control.
By no means are the bikes aiming to speed up the cattle or move the muster faster, but with their help the horses are able to focus on the tail, point, and lead without becoming exhausted. It’s also helpful on a station with some rough terrain to have bikes which are able to weave through Wattle trees, harsh scrub, Spinifex, and river channels, all the while avoiding ant hills and other obstacles. The bikes are first out with the choppers on the morning of a muster, and are still working when we return for yarding up.
Our two bike riders at present are Jaime and Jeremy, and they’re pretty good. Jaime has been riding for 12 years and before she came out to Kalyeeda (from Bunbury) she raced in downhill competitions, alongside being a Toyota mechanic. Jeremy has worked at Kalyeeda for 3 years and has progressed through the bike ranks as he’s gone, now he gets the ‘best’ bike (even though he’s Kiwi), and takes on a lot of the responsibility on musters.
Jeremy along with Jaime are Kalyeeda’s motorbike riders 2013.
Our motorbikes take on plenty of other roles in station life, including fence checking and general land/property maintenance. It’s important that the fences are monitored frequently in order to keep cattle in their respective paddocks, and equally important to check that the billabongs and bores have enough water for the stock (and obviously that the water pump for the homestead is cranked). Any of the crew members can do these jobs, but it becomes much more time efficient when you can have two riders out checking different paddocks instead of two people in one vehicle trawling the fences of one paddock at a time.
It’s been mentioned before that the bikes and horses form a solid team here, but one job of the bikes which can’t be forgotten is bringing the horses in from Goose Hole before a muster, and bringing in the foals and yearlings for Justin to work on. This is, however, the hated job of the week, and there are frequent looks of death thrown at all horse riders.
The work with the bikes doesn’t stop in the field, and they have to be kept well serviced in order to make them last in the heat and with all the rough treatment they endure. The bikes have to be checked over thoroughly before every ride, as if one breaks down here, it’s more than likely that the rider will be stranded in the middle of some far off paddock, and there’s no RACQ for a tow up here! Similarly, after every muster the bike has to be fully serviced and cleaned and checked for damage. With the native Spinifex and River Grass plaguing the land here all too often Jeremy and Jaime have to stop and clear their radiators, exhausts and fans to let the bike cool down and avoid starting bush fires!
However much as we horse riders may hate to admit, the bikes play a pretty significant part in the running of the station, and we’d be lost without them. Although that’s not to say they don’t still get their fair share of stick!