Cowboy dedicates title win to his father

Newly crowned New Zealand Rodeo Cowboy Association Rookie Bareback Champion Chris Ure, of...
Newly crowned New Zealand Rodeo Cowboy Association Rookie Bareback Champion Chris Ure, of Waikouaiti, in action during the 2023-24 season. PHOTO: STEPHEN MOWBRAY
"This one’s for you, Dad."

Waikouaiti cowboy Chris Ure reckoned winning the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboy Association 2023-24 Rookie Bareback Championship title yesterday was the greatest highlight of his life so far.

But it was also tainted with more than a little sadness because his late father, Southern district road policing manager Inspector James Ure, was not there to see him pick up the trophy at the season ender in Methven yesterday.

"I’m stoked to win.

"I’m tributing it to Dad because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.

"He’s the one who introduced me to rodeo and drove all the kilometres to take me to all the events.

"There’s a bit of sadness he wasn’t here today. He died in August last year — he definitely would’ve been here."

The 17-year-old said he discovered rodeo about six years ago, when he and his dad were driving home one day.

He noticed a sign advertising the New Year’s Day Rodeo in Waikouaiti, and asked his father if he could give it a go.

His father arranged to meet the organisers and some of the competitors at the rodeo and the rest was history.

After his first ride he was hooked.

"I just thought it would be cool to give it a try.

"I never thought about what would happen if I fell off. I never have.

"I’m adventurous — I just go all in. I’m always scared beforehand, but afterwards, I feel cool as — fizzed up. That’s pretty much why I do it."

Chris started off in a few local events, and after a bit of disruption from Covid-19, he competed in his first full season in 2022-23.

He said a lot was learned during that season, and this year he shot to the top of the 2023-24 rookie rankings.

While he had won more than $2300 in prize money during the season, most of it was spent on entry fees for the next events.

"So I’ll have to up my game a bit."

He said the season win had certainly given him more "fizz" to work his way up the national rankings in higher categories.