Let me start by saying that they haven't heard of the word Gymkhana in PNG, so it was decided it would be a 'Horse Sports Day"
It was 6 months in the making, and a cracker day. We had flag racing, apple bobbing, a stockmans race, pole bending, face painting, lots of cool prizes and BBQ lunch.
We asked a few big companies in PNG to sponsor and donate prizes and we ended up with loads of t-shirts, caps, tool kits, grocery vouchers, stubby coolers, belts, sunnies, and pocket knives. So the stakes were high!
The day started with a missing truck driver. He went to get fuel at 6 am and was never seen again, he was supposed to pick up 100 workers from their housing compound and drive the hour it takes to get to Leron. But we were determined to start on time, and not run on PNG time. Oh, the truck driver also had half the saddles!!! So we started the first race and had a saddle swap after each heat!
Ready to race..... one slight hiccup.
After the rocky start, all went well...... until the snake. One of the men in the neighboring village found a python five days earlier. He bought it along for everyone to see. But *apparently* he kept the snake for 5 days and didn't give it any food, so shortly after lunch, the biggest dust storm of all time howled through the field, almost taking horses and their riders to Cansas. Mother nature did it, you just ask anyone who knew about the snake!
We had traditional sing sing performances, a theater production on how an abattoirs works right down to stripping the clothes of a small child being held up by his legs, to demonstrate skinning?! The kids had a blast in the sack race and 3 legged race, we would have had a good time on the egg and spoon race, but someone stole the golf balls. They're expensive you know!
The theatre production.....
There were shelters built for all the different Beef departments. Cropping, Abattoirs, Leron cowboys, Gusap Cowboys, Admin, and this was for the VIP guests. lol RSVP:VIP? Same same.
On the way home, much to Tarzan's dismay, a large grazing paddock had been intentionally burt. Apparently its not uncommon, if someone knows that there aren't many people around they'll torch a bit of land.
But fortunately it didn't put much of a dampener on everyone's spirits, here's a happy tribe on the bus on the way home....