What’s there not to love about camels? If their long eyelashes, grinning smiles, curve-alicious back and awkward giraffe-like legs just make you smile – hold onto your Akubra and wait til’ they start racing.
If you’ve not been to the ‘Melbourne Cup of Camel Racing’, head down to the racetrack in Boulia to catch the action.
1. Local camel ‘Charlie’ loves a selfie
The darling of the Boulia Camel Races is the loveable 3-year-old ‘Charlie’, who poses for a picture whenever he sees a phone held up.
Although Charlie isn’t big enough to race yet he leads the way with the off-track action ever since he discovered he can score some lollies, cappuccinos and snuggles off the visitors.
Charlie had a rough start to life, found orphaned in the local National Reserve at just a few days old – but he landed on his feet when local camel trainer, Dannileah Stewart, took him home to be bottle-fed and hand raised.
Dannileah admits with a laugh, that if Charlie does take to camel racing in future years, she might have to coax him to the finish line with a bag of lollies.
2. Camel kisses
Unless you’re on your honeymoon in Boulia, you can guarantee you’ll land less smooches than trainer Glenda Sutton’s camels.
Once she’s over the finish line, you’ll spot camel trainer and jockey Glenda Sutton plonking great big kisses on her competing camels.
She’s got plenty of reason to share the love, having won the prestigious 2017 Boulia Camel Cup as well as a string of wins across the camel racing circuit, crowning her the ‘Queen of Camels’.
3. Camel tantrums and antics on the tracks
With such strong personalities, a camel’s mood on race day can either make or break their success.
Waking up on the wrong side of the stable can result in stopping mid-race, or even heading in the wrong direction.
Local Boulia camel ‘Marley’ threw a tantrum mid-race at the 2017 Boulia Camel Races, refusing to budge, holding up the race for some time.
His antics were perhaps inspired by his ‘brother’ ‘Wason’, who spectacularly ‘chucked-it-in’ mid-race during Boulia’s Camel Cup Final the previous year. Wason was in the lead with at least a 200m head start, but decided to stop dead in his tracks, turn around and watch the other camels catch up and race by!
4. The best camel jockey tip
Camel jockey Chontelle Jannese reveals with a laugh, that it was a couple of cameleer blokes who first gave her the advice to ‘breathe like a woman in labour at the 900m mark’ of Boulia’s big race.
She insists it’s some of the best advice she’s heard on the field and since has passed on the same advice to other jockeys on their maiden ride.
At 1500m, Boulia’s Camel Cup Final is Australia’s longest camel race and at the 900m mark Chontelle describes the muscle fatigue as like ‘going to jelly and you feel like you can hardly hold on’.
5. Joe-Blow attempting to tag a camel
You gotta love the outback – where else can you laugh at people getting outwit and out-sped as they try to ‘tag’ a camel with a piece of duct tape?
The object of the Boulia tagging competition is to tag and then retrieve the tape in the fastest time – proving to be a hilarious spectator event that sees competitors biting the dust time and time again.
6. Not your average walk with a pet
We challenge you not to crack a smile when you first see the camels stretching their legs along the tracks.
Led by their owners on rope, the camels catch up like playful pooches after a long trip.
7. The local pollies in action
Bucking and egging on his ride, Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton rode his mower to victory at the 2017 Boulia Camel Races, with great flair and hilarious style.
The Mayor’s enthusiastic win in the event’s Great Australian Ride-on Lawnmower Race was a sight to behold and a testament to the fun that runs in the blood of Outback Queensland’s local characters – politicians and all!