Camel Lot For A Weekend.
Thousands of Aussies humped it across the dusty outback of Australia over the weekend, to attend the annual Boulia camel races in Far Western Central Queensland for the race that stops a station.
Dubbed the Melbourne Cup of camel racing, the event offered some spectacular finishes for the crowd of about 2,500 people, even if the competitors themselves were somewhat erratic.
A Record Tumbles.
Fleet of camel toe, local dromedary Marley set a new track record — taking just 32.9 seconds to sprint 400 metres, the first camel to run under 34 seconds in the event’s 20-year history.
There was another spectacular finish when Wason came from 200 metres behind to hit the lead right at the post in his 1,000 metre heat.
Camel Goes Feral.
Alas, Wason failed to replicate that effort in the 1,500m Boulia Cup final by giving up the race lead to suddenly head off in the opposite direction, leaving South Australian camel HookMUp to win the cup for the second year in a row.
No Room At The Inn.
Bring Your Own Accommodation.
Tourists flocked to Boulia for the iconic race from as far away as Perth and Adelaide, with hundreds of caravans parked in the town showgrounds — dramatically swelling the town population, which is normally less than 600.
Boulia is about 540 kilometres west of Longreach, along a dusty track, and has come to rely upon the annual visitor migration.
The event is Boulia’s only drawcard this year because the four-year drought has already prompted the cancellation of other big events.
Stations in the region are 60 per cent destocked, meaning local grazers could not supply the Easter rodeo and camp draft.
It also means that this year, the ships of the desert have become the lifeblood of the outback town. Not just jockeys, but the whole of Boulia is riding on the camels back.