Muddy good time at rodeo

In the lead-up to yesterday's 50th anniversary Wanaka Rodeo, organisers had been concerned there might be a dust problem.

But the dust quickly turned to mud as the Albert Town venue was soaked by steady rain throughout the day.

Club spokeswoman Karin Cameron said the ground conditions were ''very, very muddy''. However the horses and cattle performed well and in mild temperatures competitors from throughout the country simply got on with the show.

''The competitors really got out there and got in the mud and just didn't give a damn.''

Mrs Cameron said before the weather changed the club had been hoping for a crowd of about 4000. Organisers were delighted when between 1000 and 2000 turned up.

''We had an amazing crowd considering the wet conditions.''

Ms Cameron said among the crowd were two rodeo identities involved in the first event at Wanaka - original announcer Norman Pittaway and bull rider Bill Jelley.

Commemorative belt buckles were issued and the rodeo featured historical elements.

''We just tried to make it a special day but I'm afraid the rain just kind of drowned us a little bit.''

Mrs Cameron became the club spokeswoman late yesterday after her son, club president Ryan Cameron, had to leave the rodeo to be with his wife, Kylie, who was expected to give birth last night to the fourth generation of Cameron rodeo riders.

-mark.price@odt.co.nz