Drafting up a success
CRAIG Radke's passion for campdrafting started when he was just a kid.
Born in Jandowae in June of 1970, Radke lived at Monogorilby located in south-east Queensland and attended the local school.
He then went to a boarding school in Toowoomba for three years.
"Once I completed the three years I moved back to Monogorilby and worked on several properties, contract mustering,” Radke said.
Radke placed second at the Mundubbera Golden Stirrup Campdraft with horse Concert at the weekend.
He began campdrafting at a young age in the juvenile campdraft and really enjoyed it and now continues to compete in maiden, novice and open campdrafts today.
His first horse was a chestnut gelding named Stubbie that was purchased as a three-year-old.
"I began riding Stubbie in campdrafts when he was five. Stubbie was drafted until he was 19,” Radke said.
"He was a great horse for me and we had some good times together,” he said.
In the late 1990s, the young Radke met the love of his life, Fiona, at a campdraft.
They officially became a couple at the Burrandowan Campdraft in 1998.
Two years later, Fiona and Craig were married in Toowoomba in February 2000 along with family and friends.
They have three daughters.
Jill is 11, Eve is nine and Grace is seven.
The girls compete in campdrafts, as well as having show ponies which they compete with at agricultural shows.
For the past four years the family have taken the show ponies and the girls to the Royal Queensland Show for them to compete in their riding classes at the Ekka.
"Watching the girls ride and do well is very exciting,” Radke said.
Radke doesn't consider himself to be a high achiever and said his family would be his biggest achievement, with a glowing smile.
He said competing in the prestigious 2009 Warwick Gold Cup Campdraft was a proud moment for him and his family.
In this competition, Radke placed second on Concert, defeating over 700 competitors.
"Fiona and I bred Concert and we both campdrafted her mother Bandena who is now happily retired,” Radke said.
The most pleasing part of the weekend was watching Jill win and Eve placing second in the junior draft, he said.
Radke is currently ranked eighth in the open rider title for the Australian Campdraft Association Standings (ACA) for this year.
There are over 14,000 members in the ACA and being ranked among some formidable competitors was humbling, he said.
"I've ridden horses all my life and I know my horses and I know what they can and cannot do,” Radke said.
After Easter the family will travel to Clermont for Radke to compete at the ACA National Finals.
Craig and Fiona's mare Corolla is ranked second in the ACA Novice horse title as well as Contract who is placed eighth in the open horse category.
His message to young kids interested in campdrafting was to get a horse that suited you.
"The key to success is riding as much as you can and to getting to know your horse,” Radke said.
Radke enjoys going to campdrafts and shows with his family and believes it is a great family sport.
"We love that our girls enjoy riding their campdraft horses and show ponies and we do it altogether,” he said.