Camel racing is making a comeback to the Gunnedah Show in 2024.

After a hiatus of several decades, the Gunnedah Show Society is eagerly awaiting the return of camel races at the 2024 event.

The races are scheduled to be held on the afternoon of Saturday, April 13, in the main arena and promise thrills, laughter, and unforgettable entertainment – both for rider and spectator.

The show society already has several local jockeys signed up (including one novice rider from this publication!) but more local people are invited to join the camel fun as well.

Camel supplier Rodney Sansom from has one tip for potential jockeys – embrace the energy of the camel – all 600kg of it!

“The jockeys who ride with energy are usually the ones who win,” he said.

Mr Sansom has been involved with camels for 30 years – about half this time with camel racing.

His Newcastle-based camel ranch is part of a “small community” of camel stables numbering only 5-6 across the country.

This compared to a huge population of wild camels where his racing animals are sourced.

“A lot of people don’t realise Australia has the largest wild camel population in the world – about 1.2 million camels,” he said.

His camels travel the country taking part in show exhibitions and big camel events such as at Boulia, Queensland.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” Mr Sansom said.

“You can learn a lot from a camel – they’re life building.”

Gunnedah Show entertainment convenor Caroline Mitchell said the society was thrilled to bring back the beloved camel races to the show.

“Camel races were a cherished tradition of the show in the 1990s, and we are excited to revive this exhilarating spectacle for our community,” Ms Mitchell said.

Mitchell also encouraged individuals to saddle up and take part in the camel races at Gunnedah.

“If you know someone in your business or community who has what it takes, we want to see them on the back of a camel,” she said.

Camel racing enthusiasts will witness three heats in Gunnedah followed by a final, adding an extra layer of excitement for all involved.

Mitchell also highlighted the historical significance of camel racing over time.

“Camel racing holds a significant place in history, with its origins tracing back to the early Islamic period in the seventh century,” she said.

“While it is a serious international sport in some countries, camel races in Australia have had a rich history since the late nineteenth century.”

For those interested in being a camel jockey or seeking further information, contact Caroline Mitchell, convenor of entertainment by email: [email protected]

The 2024 Gunnedah Show will be held from April 12-14 at the Gunnedah Showground.

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