NOTED Queensland beef producer Ashley McKay, OAM, has died from a falling horse, while mustering cattle for his beloved sport of campdrafting on Wednesday.
Mr McKay, who was aged 80, from Cherry Hills, Injune, was particularly well known as the founding president of the Australian Campdraft Association, a position he held from 1972 to 1982. He then served as ACA vice-president for a further 10 years.
Competitors at this weekend's Injune and Springsure campdrafts will wear black armbands in honour of the sport's highly respected figure.
Mr McKay, who regularly competed and served as a judge, also acted as an instructor for the fast paced sport.
He most recently competed at last weekend's Mitchell campdraft, where he placed equal second in the open draft.
Mr McKay was also well known for his active role in agripolitics. He was a former board member of the Cattleman's Union of Australia and later was a founding member of Property Rights Australia.
He also served as the chairman of the Australian Stock Horse Society's Warrego Branch.
Close friends John and Sandy Mulcahy, Pringle Downs, Roma, described Mr McKay as a outstanding man, who set a precedence for aging.
"Ashley had an absolute zest for life and did so much for so many people," the Mulcahys said.
"He was just so involved, including being a bush lawyer to a lot of us.
"We will all miss him so much."
ACA president Sean Dillon, Alpha, said Mr McKay's loss would be keenly felt by the campdrafting community across Australia.
"Ashley will be very well remembered for his ongoing support and outstanding leadership, which continued to provide right up to his passing," Mr Dillon said.
"Campdrafting as we know it have wouldn't have existed without Ashley's and his wife Doris's involvement, particularly in the early days when there was enormous resistance to change.
"Our sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with Doris and the extended McKay family."
Mr McKay's contribution also included founding the ACA News magazine, which helped spread the word of the fast growing sport, and penning The ACA Adventure, a book commemorating the first 25 years of the organisation.
More recently he was preparing a book to celebrate the ACA's the 50th anniversary, which was scheduled for release at the nationals in Springsure in April 2022.
Mr McKay told Queensland Country Life in 2019 that the ACA was formed out of the frustration competitors experienced at events held by independent committees.
"It was just Rafferty's rules," Mr McKay said.
"Committees could stage any contest, use any rules, and could appoint anyone as a judge.
"The formation of the ACA brought rules that were uniform and standard to the sport across Australia."
The ACA now boasts 10,000 members Australia wide, making in one of the nation's largest horse sports alongside Thoroughbred racing and Pony Club.
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