To win the Ringers Western Gold Buckle Campdraft Championship at Willinga Park – and with it $100,000 amongst other amazing prizes – once in a lifetime is an outstanding feat. Pete Comiskey was crowned winner of the inaugural event in 2018, then took it out for a second time in 2019.
Now, just to prove it wasn’t luck, he’s won it for a third time with the stylish grey Ervine’s Just Jim at the 2023 edition. That’s three wins out of five! When you consider there are about 400 entrants and it’s over four rounds of competition, that’s quite some talented achievement.
Pete hails from Nebo in central Queensland where he and partner Bryony Puddicombe run a cattle property. Pete won at Willinga Park the first year on the mare Rodann Roanies Destiny (Paris) and then won the next year on Rodann Rip Off Chex (Brittany). Both these mares were embryo transfers from the same year out of the mare Rodann Roanies Chex. Pete knew the mare well and competed her. He has always been a strong believer that the motherline is incredibly important in the breeding of any campdrafter.
At this year’s draft, 2019 winner Brittany needed an 86.3 to qualify for the final round and just missed out with an 86. Needless to say, of the 14 Pete brought down to the NSW South Coast, he qualified three: Ervine’s Just Jim, the final winner and also the highest aggregate scorer of the four rounds; Rebel Mama, 16th in the final and fourth on aggregate; and Kneipps Ransom, 32nd in the final and 34th on aggregate. This was out of 400 competitors and four rounds of competition!
Pete and brother Steve are probably two of the most prodigious and serious competitors in the sport of campdrafting in Australia and they have both competed at all the Gold Buckle campdrafts to date. Their parents, dinky-di outback graziers with a dry and witty sense of humour, know well that the basics of life include the hardships and tough times through drought, but they make the most of every day.
CHASING WILD CATTLE
The Comiskey boys started their lives with horses and cattle from the moment they could walk; there was never a day when the horses and cattle weren’t seriously part of their life. Back in their days as children it was just part and parcel of farming life, spending hours in the saddle behind mobs of cattle, every day mustering, chasing wild cattle through the bush, and rearing horses from foals to breaking in and then competing in campdrafting, following in their father’s footsteps, Pete Snr.
Not only is there a genetic connection with good campdraft horses as Pete explains, but there is also obviously a good genetic connection with parental genes and country life! It’s then up to the training of both horse and rider. Life wasn’t handed to these guys on a silver platter. They have worked hard at their job and family and still do. Campdrafting is a release and a sport that they are passionate about.