King of the Ranges, Murrurundi, NSW, Australia

We went to the annual King of the Ranges Competition in Murrurundi

For the last 15 years, the small town of Murrurundi in New South Wales, Australia, has held the King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival. Here, some of Australia’s top horse and rider combinations show off their skills, and compete for prize money  and various trophies.

It is an exciting time for competitors and spectators alike, as there is a whole raft of events over the 4-day festival. We only visited on one of the days, but next year we plan to spend the whole 4 days staying in Murrurundi so we can follow all the events.

Rider in the Stockman’s Challenge

In the Stockman’s Challenge, competitors have to complete a set of tasks within an allotted time. With bags and swag securely packed, the competitor leads the pack-horse through an obstacle course. They then unpack the bags, re-saddle the horse, and mend a broken fence, before showing off their stock-handling skills by moving cattle through a set obstacle course. Not at all easy.

Our next stop was the horse-shoeing competition.

In the horse-shoeing competition, competitors have to shoe one hind hoof, and one front hoof in 30 minutes, to the judges' satisfaction. This was serious competition, and everyone was working really hard.

I love having my nails polished.

Our next event was the Bareback Freestyle where the riders have to demonstrate control over their horse, while riding bareback.

This guy is cracking whips, while sitting on his calm horse…

 …and this one is somersaulting off the back of his horse.

 This rider is pivoting around on his horse…

…and this one genuflects to the judges…

…while this rider gets her horse to move a barrel along.

As you can see from this small sample, there were many interesting ways the riders showed their skill in managing their horses.

There were also some demonstrations to entertain the crowd. The first of these was a chainsaw artist.

This chainsaw artist started off with a large log…

…and ended with this carving,
which he will finish off in his workshop

Next up was traditional sheep shearing

The trick here is to get the fleece all off in one piece, apart from a small area on the stomach. This requires great skill on the part of the shearer.

Another demonstration was by working dogs showing their skills. This was especially interesting because all these dogs on show were rescue dogs, who had been re-educated and trained.

This dog was herding ducks,
which he had to put back into their cage…

…and this one showed his skill at sheep herding

All afternoon we were entertained by Des & Roley
as they played their “Old Timers’ Music”

King of the Ranges is such an entertaining event; we are so looking forward to going again next year.

Elizabeth Coughlan


  1. Great coverage of the many different aspects of the King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge. Thanks you for taking the time to post your blog :)


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