The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
The machine gun competition was the first item" on the programme, and some splendid work was done. The same may be said of all the events, for the competitors were finely trained men and put plenty of ginger into the contests.
The mounted tug-of-war was a fine exhibition of strength and skill, hedged about with comedy. At a critical moment in the pull between an Imperial and A L.H. teams, the leading horse of the latter bent its head and began to graze, amid shouts of laughter from the ringside. Then the horse, perhaps to show its contempt for mankind, turned till its tail faced the head of the leading horse in the opposing learn and chewed the rope. "You're not pulling up Palestine, old moke," cried an onlooker, "you're blanky well helping to pull a team o' Tommies." Excitement ran high in all the pulls, and the competitors were under shrapnel fire of advice and comments all the time. "Go on, Australia, you blinkin' beauts," shouted New South Welshmen, and immediately followed the war cries of rival onlookers. But good humor prevailed all through, it was, in fact, the key note of the gathering. Winners and losers alike were cheered.
Hilarity was also dominant in the wrestling on horseback event. The melancholy king of myth or history could not have helped laughing had he seen some of the merry tussles. The competitors were stripped to the waist, so that good holds were not easy to obtain. Nobody appeared to be hurt much, though there were some pretty stiff falls. Fallen heroes displayed marvellous agility in picking themselves up, and dodging clear of horses' hoofs. There is ever an element of danger in mounted sports, the spice that adds to their charm for men of mettle.
Though rails were kicked and the brushwood brushed by some of the horses, the jumping events were full of interest. One competitor had a nasty spill at the last hurdle, but was unhurt. Some very neat jumping was witnessed, and hearty cheering was the order of the day. A very popular win was registered in the championship jumping event, the Rev. C. Holmes being the victor. He cleared the hurdles in great style, and was cheered to the echo at the end of a perfect round.
The Field Ambulance competition gave the men of the red brassard an opportunity to show
how cleverly they handle their ambulance wagons, collect wounded, and erect operating tents. The mounted bearers trotted to the casualty, rendered first aid, put the patient on a stretcher, loaded him into the wagon, and were back at the tent in quick time. An instructive and interesting display.