LOCAL man Ben Donehue put Singleton’s name on the map again last weekend, winning the wild horse catch event in the finals of the King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge held at Murrurundi.
Twenty-year-old Ben was born and bred in Singleton, and after winning the Junior Man from Snowy River Stockman’s Challenge at Corryong in Victoria in 2010, has spent the past three years working at the Australian Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast as an entertainer and also as a horse breaker.
Competing in a field of 80 entrants from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia over the three day event, he managed to place fifth in the Top 10 going into the finals on Sunday.
The six preliminary events held for all competitors on Friday and Saturday included stock handling, packhorse, whip crack, bareback obstacle, horseshoeing and cross country.
The final events for the Top 10 placegetters, held on Sunday included the wild horse catch and stock saddle buckjump.
In the preliminary whip crack event, Ben impressed the judge, scoring a perfect 10 out of 10 for his freestyle section, where he performed a double handed whip cracking exhibition, while standing on his horse, Jake.
On the final day, the stock saddle buckjump event was held.
Using the same saddle and gear used throughout the three day event, finalists were to attempt to retain their seat for eight seconds on a bucking horse whilst cracking their stockwhip.
Unfortunately for Ben, he was unable to ride time so didn’t record a score for the event.
Also on the final day, the wild horse catch event was held.
The Top 10 finalists within four minutes in the arena were given three attempts to catch a previously unhandled horse.
Ben managed to complete the catch on his first attempt in one minute flat, and had another three minutes of time to spare showing he had control over the animal, patting it all over, leading it alongside his own horse, and even putting his hat on the wild horse’s head.
An enjoyable weekend was had by spectators and competitors alike, and Ben looks forward to competing again at the Gundagai Stockman’s Challenge to be held in October.
OUTSTANDING TIME: Ben Donehue smiles as he catches his wild horse in one minute flat in the final of the King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge at Murrurundi on Sunday. The Singleton man then had three minutes to demonstrate his control over the animal, patting it all over, leading it alongside his own horse and even putting his hat on the wild horse’s head.
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