Part One in the series
OLD McLARSEN HAD SOME FARMS
The initial impression of a Bush Gymkhana is a kaleidoscope of colour and movement as horses and riders compete. The sounds are of encouraging shouts and whip-cracking; horses neighing and whinnying as their galloping hoofs make the ground vibrate. From the surrounding yards, comes the mooing of tethered stock and barking of cattle dogs as they are moved closer for their ‘moment in the sun’. The smells are of sweat and tears; of cattle and horses and the leather of the saddles and riding gear; of overwhelming, sometimes choking dust. The clothing is jeans, and more jeans; riding boots and elastic-sided work boots; Western check shirts and bright coloured ‘bandanna’ neckties; Akubra hats and Stetsons in all stages and ages of life (and near-death). Heaps of mini mirror-image replicas of Dad (called kids), are running and laughing and crying and underfoot, everywhere, whilst a percentage of unimaginably small ‘cowboys’ are also competitors – a warm-up, one could say – to the main events.
What comes next at this moment in time, is my personal ‘warm-up’ to being a poet of note. Hmmm… (some wannabes should just forget it!) With humblest apologies to ‘Banjo’ –There was Jamieson, who’s claim to fame was winning last year’s cup. The blonde ‘hunk’ with the eyes so blue, you know? Few could match his prowess, once his mind was fair made up, To aim higher than horse and man should ever go. And Simpson from the Alice came down to try his hand, Few stockmen ever held so tight the reins. For no horse had ever tossed him, on this red dusty land, He’d learnt his skills the hard way – on the plains.
… and a couple more verses continue MY version of the Bush Gymkhana.