SPORTING shooters from around Australia are joining the Blackall community in mourning after waking to the news that cattleman and Paralympic athlete Ashley Adams died in a quad bike accident on his property on Tuesday evening.
Blackall police have confirmed that the fatality took place at around 6pm when Mr Adams had a fall from his bike.
No other details are available at this stage.
Mr Adams operated the 64,000-hectare Darracourt aggregation north of Blackall, running a 3500 head Brahman, Simmental and Santa-infused herd.
He won the Rabobank Red Meat Industry Producer of the Year award in 2008 as one of the early adopters of GeneStar tenderness marker testing and developed the TendaBEEF brand to market his cattle.
Mr Adams became a paraplegic after a motorbike accident in the early 1980s but refused to let adversity defeat him.
He represented Australia in rifle shooting at five Paralympics and numerous world championships.
Shooting colleagues are amongst those farewelling Mr Adams on his Facebook account.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we must say goodbye,” one tribute reads.
“Your sense of humour, your presence and your freedom to give advice and discuss issues will be deeply missed on all shooting ranges. RIP Ashley, you certainly were one if a kind.”
Proud Australian Paralympian
Queensland Country Life interviewed Mr Adams in early 2012 while he was preparing to represent Australia in air rifle events at the London Paralympics.
The five-time contestant at this level had competed previously at Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing Paralympics.
Ashley Adams, preparing for the London Paralympics in 2012.
At the time, the then 57-year-old said he had no intention of emulating fellow shooter Libby Kosmala, who was competing in her eleventh Paralympics at the age of 70.
Mr Adams thought he “might have one more Games” in him and hoped to head to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2016.
He also was working towards improving on his ranking of third in Australia in able-bodied competition.
“I still really want to represent my country in open company. I’ve got something to prove there.”
Early adopter and innovator
Queensland Country Life also spoke with Mr Adams in April 2013 and found out GeneStar had paid dividends for Blackall beef producer in ways he didn't expect when he began experimenting with lotfeeding.
A consignment of 152, 14-month-old Santa Gertrudis and Santa/Simmental-cross steers sent to Wonga Plains, Bowenville, had an average daily weight gain of 2.6kg/head and a conversion of 4.8kg on a dry matter basis.
The top-performing animals put on more than 3kg a day.
"People might say that I'm not getting paid for any improvement in the tenderness of my meat, but I'm getting a win in other ways," Mr Adams said.
"Those of us using tenderness and feed-efficiency markers have lifted the performance of our whole herds."
While he has found it difficult to compete in price with supermarket product, he has found he is benefiting in other ways.
"We're trying to turn off a higher weight gain animal at a younger age - it means we can make more money more quickly, and those animals can miss any drought that might visit us at Darracourt," he said.
"I've now got to be careful not to put any animals above 480kg into the feedlot for 100 days on feed because they are likely to break the weight limit and penalise me, up to $200 an animal."
In 2008 Mr Adams won the Rabobank Beef Producer Award for his TendaBEEF brand.
He also received the Agribusiness Award for Outstanding Innovation at the Central West Industry Excellence Awards run by the Remote Area Planning and Development Board.