Abc.net.au - Full Story
July 14 2008
Camels and their trainers have begun arriving in outback Queensland for the start of the state's camel racing circuit.
Boulia Camel Races is offering $30,000 prize money for this weekend's races and another $50,000 will be offered next month at a camel endurance race in Hughendon.
There is another race meet in Winton later this month.
Camel racing identity Paddy McHugh says events are becoming more popular.
"Certainly when the horse influenza thing went through our phones ran hot for us to do more and more races," he said.
"It's gained in popularity but it will never give horse racing a run for its money, it's just a different industry you know.
"There is a serious side to it though, in the fact that Middle Eastern market is worth millions and millions of dollars to the industry."
Mr McHugh says high fuel prices may deter some competitors from making the trip to western Queensland.
"It seems the tourism hasn't really slowed down a great deal," he said.
"The camel people like to have a bit of a moan and groan, but you know $50,000, $30,000 at Boulia and Winton is another little bit as well, it's pretty good prize money.
"It's not as if there's a lot of them in the business so whoever wins makes pretty good money for three or four months of the year."