No bull, it's just a big rush

For the second day in a row and armed with nothing more than quick wits, a turn of pace and a padded barrel, South Island bull-fighters Gary Topping, from Mosgiel, and Will Jamison, from Hawarden, yesterday risked life and limb to keep riders in the South Island rodeo circuit safe.

Just a day after taking part in the Waimate Rodeo, the pair were again in action yesterday at the Omarama Rodeo, where they helped to keep bull riders safe by distracting runaway bulls.

Although ''bumps and bruises'' were a daily occurrence, Mr Jamison said teamwork was the only tool needed to keep both bull-fighter and riders safe.

''It's all about teamwork. One of us distracts the bull and the other one protects the fallen rider.''

He said he started fighting bulls three years ago.

''You can't really get a better adrenaline rush.''

Mr Topping said adrenaline was the reason why he stopped bull-riding four years ago to start bull-fighting.

''They were short one year and I just helped out and stuck with it.

''We get an eight-second adrenaline rush every time we come out. The riders only get to ride one bull a day, but we get to fight them all.''

A total of 160 horse riders and bull riders took part in yesterday's rodeo. Omarama Rodeo secretary Stevie Steffens was pleased with the number of competitors. Riders from as far away as Australia and America competed, she said.