Patrick O’Leary cracks his whip standing on Happy Hank, the bull, at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival. Patrick’s father Hilary holds on the beast.
Patrick O’Leary cracks his whip standing on Happy Hank, the bull, at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival. Patrick’s father Hilary holds on the beast.

Whip cracking titles to heat up

HILARY O'Leary is hoping for a field of 40 in both the whip cracking and whip plaiting state championships at the Clifton Showground on Sunday. Mr O'Leary and his wife Dot run the event each year for the Clifton Show Society.

“The championships were initially held in conjunction with the show but outgrew the competition area so the championships are now still part of the show but held a week prior in the show pavilion,” O'Leary said.

“The show pavilion is an all-weather venue and admission is free.”

Cheryl McIntyre hails from Calamvale, in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, and will be at Clifton on Sunday with a display of leather craft.

“I am told her display is brilliant,” O'Leary said.

The 40 whip crackers will come from as far as Gin Gin, Gunnedah, Taree, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, South Burnett, Dalby, Injune and all areas in between.

Darling Downs whip crackers include the Maher family, of Warwick and Ellangowan competitor Patrick O'Leary.

Patrick will be competing after returning from performing at Hyde Park in Sydney on Australia Day with Happy Hank, the Hereford bull from the O'Leary families Remolea Stud.

Maurice McPartland is holidaying in Melbourne, from Scotland, and is travelling to Clifton to watch the event.

Gunnedah competitor Daniel Wicks was the overall winner last year and has nominated again.

His father and two sisters will also compete in the championships and are all past winners.

The Kelly family will also travel to Gunnedah with Matthew and Eli and their mother Alison entered in the competition.

The whip plaiters are drawn from a similar area with many taking up plaiting after retiring from whip cracking.

Warwick farmer Chic Roche and some of his grandchildren will compete in plaiting along with large numbers coming from the Toowoomba and Dalby areas.

Many of the entries are already at Clifton.

The state championships start at 10am Sunday and will conclude at 3pm at the Clifton Recreation Reserve.


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