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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Tradition & Heritage in Beautiful Murrurundi

King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge showcases the traditional skills of Australian Stockmen and women through an exciting and intense competition over four days. Competitors accumulate points for cattle work, pack-horse work, bareback riding, target whip-cracking, horseshoeing, and cross country jumping. Then finalists further display their skill and courage in catching and leading a wild horse and riding a buckjumper, to determine who will be the next King of the Ranges.

Throughout the King of the Ranges event, the Bush Festival program features a host of traditional and entertaining activities including fun competitions, displays of horsemanship, demonstrations of bushcraft, live music, great food and good old fashioned country hospitality.

The King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival offers something for all the family. Enjoy this celebration of Australian bush skills, tradition and heritage in beautiful Murrurundi the "Crown of the Hunter" at the foot of the Liverpool Ranges where the New England Highway leaves the Hunter Valley to cross the Great Dividing Range.

The KOTR Challenge and Festival will also incorporate the Indigenous Stockmen Program. In 2015 KOTR initiated a program aimed at assisting young Aboriginal stockmen from Northern Australia to develop skills and experiences which may benefit their careers. While small in capacity, this program has been successful enabling recipients to travel to the Upper Hunter and spend time under the guidance of experienced KOTR Committee members, practise specific skills required to compete on a Stockman’s Challenge and participate in a range of experiences to increase confidence and further their all-round development.

Partnering with the Aboriginal Development Benefits Trust, KOTR has had considerable success from the mentoring program. Previous recipient, Stewart Foster returned to Murrurundi for the 2019 Challenge where he competed with credit. Following the KOTR Event, Stewart took up a position with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association as a Field Officer on the “Real Jobs Program” and has really enjoyed the past 12 months travelling to various Cattle Stations and mentoring young people in the pastoral industry. The Committee looks forward to welcoming some new young recipients of the Program in 2020.

The King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival will be held from 27 February through until 1 March in Murrurundi (Upper Hunter). For more information visit

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