Laid-back Queenslander Peter Comiskey is a superstar on Australia’s rapidly growing campdrafting circuit.
Story By Sally Nicol
Goose-necks and horses are cluttered on a red ridge. A shaft of light hits silver making rubies shine. This is bling, outback style. Peter Comiskey runs his rough hand over the belt buckle. A quiet smile of satisfaction spreads across his face. This buckle confirms his superstar status on Australia’s campdrafting scene.
This is the 13th such belt buckle to find its way into his massive and overcrowded trophy cabinet. He won his first Australians’ Campdraft Association (ACA) Champion Open Rider title at the age of 20 and hasn’t stopped since. At 36 it seems impossible that he’s had enough years to amass the trophies crammed into the cabinet. “I’ve ridden a lot of champion horses,” he smiles.
Taking pride of place in the cabinet is the Holy Grail of the campdraft circuit – The Warwick Gold Cup. “It’s everyone’s dream to win at Warwick,” he says. “My mare “Roanies Chex” had hit her straps and was at a peak.” The year was 2005.
In the lead up to Warwick, Peter won the Grandfather Clock at Chinchilla and afterwards went on to win the $60,000 Acton Super Beef Australian Open Campdraft at Paradise Lagoons near Rockhampton, Qld.
Each trophy has a story. Each ones holds the pride of achievement. “They probably don’t mean too much to anyone else but I know the work that’s gone into winning each one of them,” he says.
It all began when he sat on a horse at his first campdraft when he was 10 days old. It’s not surprising that his parents, Peter and Denise Comiskey, are very keen campdrafters and cattle people. There was never any pressure to compete but young Peter quickly caught the drafting bug. “Right from a young age I had a heap of ponies,” he says. By age eight he was a regular on the circuit. By 15 he was travelling the roads from the family’s property in central Queensland’s Capella district. “I’ve driven ever since I was six years old and at 15 I could drive a car better than most adults,” he says. “I had a little Suzuki Sierra, it was a puddle jumper. It didn’t drink much fuel and it didn’t go very fast. I used to travel all over the countryside riding my friends’ horses in the juveniles and helping them look after those horses.”
The support of his father has played a big part in Peter’s campdrafting success. “My father’s in his sixties and he’s still a keen competitor,” he says. “When he was younger he worked and got the properties going and never had the opportunity to do too many drafts. Then he reckoned when he was older and had the money he was too old to really get into it. So he’s always supported my travelling wholeheartedly.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #54
Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2007