Man from Snowy River Festival

Corryong, Victoria

April 4 - 7, 2018

* Love this movie and love the reenactment
* The events are great, lots of variation
* The art exhibits showcased local talent
* Horse and Dog events all day
* Food & Music!
* The Murray River area is stunning!
* There are also tours on the internet set up for MFSR Festival, which take you to the event and surrounding areas.
* Beautiful scenery on the drive to Corryong from Melbourne

* Long drive, it's far from Melbourne (4 hours), but worth the drive
* I wouldn't say dislike, but something I wasn't prepared for was the amount of people.  This is a huge event.
* Tickets are very expensive.  One day is $70, four days is $155.  You can get discounted prices with early purchase.
* Camping sites sell out immediately, if you aren't booking as soon as they open up booking, you aren't getting a site
* Again, I wouldn't say dislike, but be prepared to have to travel to some of the events.  They are not all on site.

One of the first things I did when I moved to Australia was search for unique Australian Experiences on Google.   What I found were list after list of events and festivals - all of which I want to attend.

The month before I moved to Australia I had a chance to catch up with friends in Minnesota.  One in particular currently lives up North and we spent a few days at his family cabin.  The cabin was stocked with old movies and a DVD player.  One of the old movies was a Man from Snowy River.  It had been YEARS since either of us saw it, so we decided that would be our entertainment.  I had completely forgotten it was set in Australia, and I feel like it was meant to be that we saw this show.  I forgot how much I loved that movie.

Fast forward to my googling adventure one afternoon.  After getting myself all hyped up about these festivals, what do I come across?  A festival called "A Man from Snowy River Festival".  My mind could not even wrap around this, there's a whole festival for this movie?  I don't get it, how can this be such a cult classic and I had no idea.   I had to go to this.

What I've come to find out is that the movie is actually based on a very famous Australian poem by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson, first published April 26, 1890.  The poem (and the movie) are an account of an prizewinning racehorse who has escaped and taken up living with brumbies.  Ranch hands pursue the horse through the Australian outback mountain ranges, eventually chasing it to a cliff like slope.   All the ranch hands stop at the cliffs edge watching the brumbies escape down the impassable slope.    Then very dramatically through the group of riders flies the protagonist who rides his small mountain pony down the slope, catches up to the herd and brings the racehorse home.

In comes A Man from Snowy River Festival and the Man From Snowy River Challenge.    A four day test for Australia's Stockmen and women, looking for all around horsemanship and ultimately a search for the modern day Man from Snowy River.  All their skills pushed to the limits in six grueling preliminary events set to challenge the most skilled and professional horse and rider teams. The Top Ten scoring riders move forward from the preliminary events to take centre stage on Sunday and earn their place in the final events; Paterson’s Brumby Catch and the Kosciusko Stocksaddle Buckjump.

The events are as follows:

Snowy River Stockhandling, three head of cattle are drafted and moved through a set course in a quiet and controlled manner in a set time of 7 minutes.

Harrison’s Packhorse, competitors pack their competition horse, ensuring the bags are evenly packed and balanced, then lead the packhorse through a set course, finishing with the pack still evenly balanced and unpack and unsaddle the packhorse.

Clancy’s Whip Crack, competitors conduct a compulsory, mounted 30 seconds freestyle of whipcracking which must include a Sydney Flash. Then, at a fast canter and using best hand, competitors attempt to cut targets on a set course in a set time.

Banjo’s Bareback, riding bareback and using their own choice of headgear, competitors complete in a set time a course designed to demonstrate maximum skill, control and maneuverability and then perform a compulsory freestyle lasting 30 seconds.

Jimmy Scammell Horseshoeing, open competitors attempt to competently and neatly shoe one hind and one fore hoof in a set time of 30 minutes. Junior competitors are to demonstrate the ability to prepare a shoe to one fore and one hind hoof, within a limit of 30 minutes. Only one horse handler is permitted entry into the horse shoeing shed with any one competitor.

Mountain Horseman’s Cross Country, riding in the same stock saddle used throughout the competition, competitors complete a cross country course of approximately 2 km and 20 jumps.

Final Events

Paterson’s Brumby Catch,  finalists attempt to halter a horse in an arena within 3 minutes and demonstrate young horse handling skills and horsemanship.

Kosciusko Stocksaddle Buckjump, using the same stock saddle and gear used throughout, finalists attempt to retain their seat on a bucking horse for 8 seconds.

Ladies Silver Brumby Catch, finalists attempt to halter a horse in an arena within 3 minutes and demonstrate young horse handling skills and horsemanship.

Jack Riley Junior Final, the Top 3 Junior competitors attempt to highlight their skills and ability negotiating a set working pattern.

The challenge is not the only event happening over those 4 days.  The town of Corryong has a population of about 1,200 people.  During this festival, the population jumps up to 20,000.   Most of those folks are camping.   (Glamping is also available, if you snag the spots early enough)  In fact, most camping sells out right away so you need to mark your calendars to get a spot.   There's food, shopping, photography exhibits, art exhibits, dog events, horse events, events for children and let's not forget also a great line up of music in the evenings.  It's an all around fun and entertaining event, but the best part is....the reenactment.  Yep you read that right.  They reenact the most epic scene from the movie and poem.

The reenactment is held about 5km outside of Corryong at Thowgla.  There is a field in the middle of nowhere, with a stage and a giant steep hill in the background.    Thousands of people gather along a fence line that stretches on forever, and standby as the host prepares you for the main event.  Eventually you see the colt jump over his fence, race away disappearing into the mountains.   Moments later you see a heard of brumbies race by and disappear in the same direction, only to appear a short while later at the top of the hill.  Then down they come with the rancher in hot pursuit, he eventually herds them all into the pen and closes the gate.  Mission accomplished.

5 Man from Snowy River Blogs:

  1. Man from Snowy River Festival
  2. Top Things to do in Corryong
  3. Things to do in Corryong
  4. Corryong - Fast Facts


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