Bulls offer plenty of bucks before the bang

Clarks Junction farmer Dan Nichol keeps his distance as he walks around some of the bulls for tomorrow's rodeo at Outram. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.Meet the stars of the team. Their sole aim tomorrow is to buck, bounce, run, chase and maybe even mash up a few cowboys at the Outram Rodeo.

There's Aces & Eights. He's the team captain and present New Zealand bucking bull champion, and where he walks, the rest of the herd usually follows.

Then there's Bones. He's a big ginger Brahman with wonky horns that look like broken legs. He likes nothing better than to chase cowboys.

Like many in tomorrow's herd, he is the son of Apache - an unridden bull, famed for being a past New Zealand bucking bull champion.

Strike Down is pretty wild. He's a young and athletic fellow who usually hangs round at centre, and likes to jump out of the chute with a cowboy on his back before you can open the gate.

And then there are the hulking King Kong and White Lightning, whose colouring and impressive speed show he is aptly named.

They've got short fuses and are likely to run over anyone standing in the ring with them.

''Particularly King Kong. He's a mongrel. You wouldn't want to be standing in front of him for too long,'' Clarks Junction farmer Dan Nichol says.

He says these are the bad boys in the team with reputations that precede them, and reckons it takes a brave man to get into a confined space with any of them.

He owns many of the 20 bulls in tomorrow's line-up, and hopes their reputations for creating havoc will be branded into the memories of the competing cowboys.

''Hopefully, they'll create a bit of hurt. I like to see them [cowboys] get bucked off. That's what I breed them [the bulls] for.''

Mr Nichol said only four of the 19 bulls at last year's Outram Rodeo were ridden and he hoped this year, the bulls would be more entertaining.

Taieri bull breeder James Adam said all the best cowboys in New Zealand would compete at tomorrow's rodeo, along with cowboys from Australia and the United States.

He said it had attracted New Zealand's best because the national rodeo finals were being staged next month in Wanaka, and participants would be trying to qualify and gain as many points as possible.

Tomorrow's rodeo starts at 11am.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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