A cup to remember

Host: Yarrie Station
Written by Martha Lindstad – Stationhand, Yarrie Station.

For the second time The Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association and Yarrie Station had the privilege to host Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup here at Yarrie. It’s a competition that my boss Annabelle and her friend and livestock handling consultant, Boyd Holden, started last year. It is believed to be the only competition of its kind in the world. You have similar competitions like campdrafting, cutting or for example dog trials, but this competition is different as you are handling cattle on foot, in a team of three people. The competition has four different events in it, and you get judged on how well you perform these different events.

Number one was to settle the cattle in a 30×30 metre big yard. Each team had a mob of 20 weaners, ten steers, and ten heifers. The settling is basically what we do as the first part of our weaner handling program here at Yarrie, the holding and droving game, before you “park” the cattle in the middle of the pen. They are meant to stand still and be settled.

The second event is drafting. You have to bring ten cattle into the bud box, then send five at a time up the race. We got judged on how well we operated the draft gates, and all cattle had to come in single file through the race, without running on top of each other. Beforehand we had to decide to choose the steers or heifers, and as they went up the race we had to draft off ten one way, and ten the other way. The last task in event number two was to draft off four of the ten you didn’t want to use for the next event — the obstacle course.

Event number three was definitely the most entertaining for the crowd. The team had to bring their six chosen cattle through a course of six obstacles. Especially the first obstacle, a yellow tarp, was extremely “scary” to the cattle, who jumped like green showjumping horses over it. There was also a panel lying on the ground (like a cattle guard/grid), a row of balloons to walk under, some barrels to get around, a race made up by two drafting gates, and a jump. It took a lot of skill from the teams to take their mob through the obstacles. None of the teams got through all the obstacles in one round, but some were fairly close.

Event number four involved different questions around animal welfare, landscape rehabilitation, biosecurity, and how your station works towards certain challenges in the industry. The teams had to explain what, how and why they do it at their specific property. Each of the four events had a time limit, and although it wasn’t about being the quickest, you had to make sure you didn’t run out of time.

In the end it was one of the teams from Mandora Station who won the competition. Ben Mills, Lachie Dzioba, and Hamish Mercer got the best total score, and won the big trophy. Helen Bruce, Mark, and Narelle Bettini from De Grey got second, while Georgia Guest, Hannah Geri, and Charlotte Bronson, also from De Grey, got third. Our team, Dangers Dolls, didn’t made it to the top, but we won the individual drafting event, which was pretty cool. We struggled a bit through the obstacle course, but the whole competition was lots of fun, which is the main thing for me.

It takes a lot of organising and planning to host such an event. Annabelle and Boyd had planned the event the whole year, and even though it was a very stressful week for our team setting it all up, it was totally worth it. We couldn’t have done it without our great main sponsor Pilbara Development Commission though, they put a lot into place for us. We’d like to send a huge thanks to Territory Rural, Goad Livestock, Holden Agricultural Management, the Iron Clad Hotel, and Bankwest for supporting us as well. We also had great help from lots of friends who came out for the cup. I think there was close to a hundred people at our main yards Jinacarlie, where the competition was held. It’s a great spot in itself, and to be able to share it with so many people was awesome. There were 16 teams in the competition, from six different stations in the Pilbara and Kimberley. During the weekend we had plenty of time to discuss and talk about the pastoral industry, and even better, socialise over a couple (or more) beers.

Bring on the Cattle Cup 2018! Hope to see even more people then!

All the teams in the yard together.

The winning team from Mandora used their livestock skills to get their weaners over the jump in the obstacle course.

Boyd Holden was judge of the competition, and also informed the teams about latest news in the cattle industry.

Luke Grossmith and his team from Port Hedland got the weaners jumping.

Our team Danger Dolls won the individual drafting event, which was cool. Me, Lauren, and Dave.

Team Bettini Beef are hurrying under the balloons in the obstacle course.

One of the six obstacles.

Friday night tacos were popular amongst the station crews.

The winning team from Mandora took the big trophy home. From left Lachie Dzioba, Hamish Mercer, and Ben Mills.