Meet Des Burns

Where are you from:  Mareeba, far north QLD

How long have you been riding / competing, and how many years have you been competing at Cloncurry Challenge?

I have been riding since I was very young and most of my early years were spent riding horses mustering cattle. I started Campdrafting in my mid 20’s. I started with just 2 horses.
My first challenge was in my early 30’s at Horse of the North (HOTN) in 2012 where I finalled in the classic challenge. This was also my first year competing at the Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and I miss the final there by .5 of a point. 2013 I went back to Horse of the North and Cloncurry to classic a Playboy Roy mare of mine where I made both finals. 2014/2015 I didn’t challenge because I didn’t have a classic horse. Late 2015,  I purchased Tassa’s Pretty Chick by Tassa N Smart out of a Chickasha Dare mare from Nathan Wilson for the 2016 challenge year. I competed Pretty Chick at the Cape York and Tablelands challenge and won the classic. I then went to HOTN and Monto but I didn’t make the final.  In July 2016 I took Pretty Chick to Cloncurry and won the prestigious Cloncurry Stockman’s Classic Challenge. In 2017 I purchased another Tassa N Smart but a gelding this time. I placed 4th at the Cape York and Tablelands classic challenge, finalled at HOTN and came 4th at Cloncurry with the highest wet work score of 90.5 in the final. So essentially answering the question – I have competed at Cloncurry for 4 times finalling in 3 of them. I have continued to campdraft throughout this time winning and placing at numerous drafts.

How many Australian Stockman's Challenge Association (ASCA) challenges do you get to?
We live in Far North Queensland so travel is a big part of getting to a competition. I generally do CYTB ASHS, HOTN, Cloncurry (which is 1300km away) I have competed at Monto (over 1500km away).

What’s the highlight of your career to date?
My career highlight would have to be winning the Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge. I came into the final in last place scraping in at 13th. I had a dry work score of 88 and wet work score of 90.5 which gave me the lead to win the challenge.

What is your favourite part about the sport?
Campdraft and Challenging is great for spending time with my family doing something we all enjoy. We love traveling (we travel over 30 000 km each year) and meeting lots of wonderful people in our travels. Campdrafting and challenge is a great family environment and has lots of great people. I also enjoy the disciplines of a challenge, the finesse involved in the dry work pattern and the cattle work in the wet work.

Any advice for aspiring Challenge & Campdraft competitors?
Find a style that suits you. Ask as many questions as you can to as many people to help you improve. Everybody is always willing to help just be open to the advice they are giving you. There might be the smallest bit of information that will help you the most. I have been very blessed to have had heaps of people who have been willing to help me along the campdraft and challenge part.