Rodeo successful trial for finals

Open bull ride winner Johnson Davis, of Rotorua. Photo by Rapa Images.
Open bull ride winner Johnson Davis, of Rotorua. Photo by Rapa Images.
Yesterday's 51st annual Wanaka Rodeo proved a successful trial run for the national finals being held at the same venue in March

About 180 competitors and an estimated crowd of 4000 attended the event, held at the Wanaka Rodeo Club's new arena at the Albert Town Recreation Reserve.

The weather was a mixed affair, with wind, light rain showers and patches of sunshine.

Some of the place-getters in the open categories were working towards entry into the National Finals Rodeo - the pinnacle event of the rodeo circuit - to be held at the Albert Town grounds on March 8 and 9.

The top eight cowboys and cowgirls with the highest total points from the 34 rodeos on the national circuit will be guaranteed a spot in the finals.

It will be the first time the national event has been held at the Albert Town facility, which was purpose-built a few years ago when the club's original grounds in Golf Course Rd were subdivided.

Wanaka last hosted the finals in 2001.

Open bull ride winner Johnson Davis, of Rotorua, said yesterday he hoped to return to Wanaka in March.

''It was an outstanding day. It's an awesome rodeo grounds and the facilities and stock are great. I'd love to be back for the finals.''

Wanaka Rodeo Club president Lyal Cocks said the event had gone smoothly and had been a huge success with competitors and the crowd.

''The Wanaka Rodeo is one of the biggest and best rodeos in the country and we are thrilled with the great turnout and level of competition.

"There was some top-class action and the Wanaka Rodeo Club is looking forward to hosting the National Finals Rodeo in March,'' Mr Cocks said.