By HARRY CLARKE

FOUR decades after Richard Hansen first began attending Warwick rodeos as a bareback and saddle bronc rider, the Central Queensland cattle farmer has this year taken home Australia’s most prestigious prize in campdrafting.

Hansen, riding his homebred gelding 49er Shake, blitzed the open final of the Warwick Gold Cup with a high-paced 91 point run to accumulate an unbeatable total of 270.

“It’s a bit unreal and a bit surreal, but it will dawn on me,” an elated Hansen said of the win, which earns him $23,000 prizemoney.

“It’s just good to have your horse do a good run. It’s just good to be here. Winning’s not everything, but it is nice.”

Richard Hansen rides 49er Shake to victory in the 2021 Warwick Gold Cup

Hansen first competed in Warwick rough stock events in 1982, around the time he was among the top 15 bronc riders on the national rodeo circuit.

But he didn’t become a regular at the event throughout the ensuing years.

A younger Richard Bransen launched sky high on buck jumper “Kings Cross” at Warroo NSW in 1981. IMAGE: Mike Kenyon

2005 was the last time he travelled down from his home on the property “Chesalon” at Alpha west of Emerald, where he and wife Alison breed Droughtmaster cattle.

“We’ve been busy, there’s been droughts and things at home, but right now it’s the best it’s ever been,” Hansen said.

“Cattle prices are pretty good. We can afford to do a few more things that we couldn’t and we had a couple of good horses, so we thought we’d come.”

Place-getting campdrafters line up in the Warwick Gold Cup presentation.

49er Shake is a 13-year-old gelding by Hansen’s sire Freckles 49er. On the dam side, the gelding’s breeding goes back to the historic Spinifex bloodline.

“He’s just a good horse with a beautiful temperament. He cuts out well,” he said.

“I’ve only just started him back in the last few weeks and one’s had a run-off in an open and placed in an open.”

Hansen also thanked cattle donors for the “big role they play for the sport. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

The Warwick Gold Cup has been an icon of campdrafting since it began in 1929. Veteran organiser and committee member Lorna Fanning said 2021 was another hugely successful event.

“We’ve had a few storms this week but overall it’s been fantastic,” said Fanning, who is also secretary of the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society.

“It’s the most sought after trophy in Australia as far as campdrafting goes. There’s just great history with the Warwick Gold Cup.”

Veteran campdraft announcer and Warwick Show and Rodeo Society secretary Lorna Fanning
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