Josh is two times a winner

Gracemere's Joshua Smith wins second Cloncurry Stockman's Challenge


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Joshua Smith, Gracemere took out the iconic Stockman's Classic Challenge riding three-year-old stallion GI M Hard. Pictures - Jo Thieme.

Joshua Smith, Gracemere took out the iconic Stockman's Classic Challenge riding three-year-old stallion GI M Hard. Pictures - Jo Thieme.

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Gracemere's Josh Smith cemented his place in history when he took out the Cloncurry Stockman's Classic Challenge on the weekend, the second time he has won the prestigious event.

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Gracemere's Josh Smith cemented his place in history when he took out the Cloncurry Stockman's Classic Challenge on the weekend, the second time he has won the prestigious event.

Josh created history in 2015 when he posted a score of 345.5 to take out the prize, making it the first time a father and son had each placed first in the holy grail of Australian horse sports.

David Smith won the event in 2002 and according to Josh, has been a great mentor.

"We always travel together and this win means a lot to both of us," he said.

David and wife Raelene purchased Josh's winning colt, GI M Hard, for $45,000 from Joel and Julie Duff at the Landmark Classic sale in Tamworth earlier this year, an investment that has paid dividends.

As well as receiving the beautifully presented Peter Abdy Memorial trophy, $20,000 cash and a load of prizes on the weekend, with a score of 340, the duo won the Rosevale Santa Gertrudis 5&U Challenge at the Toowoomba Supreme Sale in early May.

"He had a real presence about him," Josh, a mine electrician, said, commenting on their reason for buying him. "We knew he had the ability to win at Cloncurry but we weren't expecting anything."

The weekend win may also have set another milestone for the prestigious challenge - record-keepers are unsure whether a three-year-old has won the classic challenge before.

Thanks to his youth, he may yet put in another appearance next year, Josh said.

Stockman's Challenge committee president Cheyne Williams commended Josh on his horsemanship and GI M Hard's display of athleticism and ability.

"Joshua was a standout in both the dry and wet work sections this year," Mr Williams said.

"It was a really tough field with the judges' scores showing just that so he should be commended on his win."

Jaimie Kriesch, Alton Downs, riding RKN Peppered Whiz on their way to a win in the encouragement challenge.

Jaimie Kriesch, Alton Downs, riding RKN Peppered Whiz on their way to a win in the encouragement challenge.

Also hailing from the Rockhampton region, at Alton Downs, Jaimie Kriesch took out first, second and fourth in the Encouragement Challenge, winning with a score of 332.25, and won the weekend's Rising Star award.

A category calling for horses and competitors who have not won an open age event before, Jaimie won on her mare RKN Peppered Whiz, took second place on her gelding Nonda Plains of Peppimenarti, and fourth on her mother's mare, Jessie's Bernadette.

Bought at the Ag-Grow horse sale, Peppered Whiz had never challenged before but scored every run.

"They all tried their hearts out," Jaimie said.

She said it had been one of her better weekends.

"The Rising Star award is just as special (as the challenge wins) - it's something I've been working towards for a long time."

She's been drafting for 10 years, since she was 13, reaching second and sixth places in the encouragement challenge last year, and fourth in the C150 $20,000 novice event.

She now hopes to find a few up-and-coming horses and come in bigger and better next year.

Joshua Smith and GI M Hard.

Joshua Smith and GI M Hard.

Organisers said record crowds and near-record numbers of competitors had packed out the Cloncurry Equestrian Centre for the five-day event.

An event that also included campdraft categories for young, old, ladies and men; Walter Jackson triumphed in the Junior Draft with a score of 78 riding 'Joe' and Ben Stanger took out the coveted Restricted Maiden Draft, consisting of 176 competitors restricted to those from the Cloncurry, Mount Isa, Julia Creek, Winton, Richmond and Hughenden regions.

With entry free for spectators, the all new multi-level seating, grandstands and spectator areas were all brimming; especially for the Saturday night rodeo and live entertainment.

"It was really good to see crowd numbers so high" Mr Williams said.

"We put a lot of emphasis on spectator attendance in our marketing and planning, aiming to increase trade stalls and alike and it seemed to really pay off."

Josh Smith said the cattle, many of them donated by Clonagh, had been some of the best he'd worked with for a long time.

"We didn't think the Challenge would happen this year," he said. "When they decided to go ahead, we really wanted to support them."

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