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In front of a crowd of about 500 at Buscot Station, Omarama Rodeo announcer Madison Taylor watched rider after rider in the second division bareback competition "grab a piece of prime Omarama real estate" as they were thrown from their horses and into the dust.
But among the crowd, watching from a safe distance, Bianca (7) and her sister Hannah Haugh (5), of Geraldine, and their cousin Genevieve Wiggins (5), of Ashburton, were having a great time.
"We’ve all been to lots of rodeos," Bianca said.
The children watched their parents compete in team roping, calf roping and barrel racing — and some year soon, the girls wanted to compete in the barrel racing too, they said.
They all knew how to ride a horse. Omarama Rodeo president Jamie Brice was pleased with the turnout — and the weather — yesterday at the 31st Omarama Rodeo.
This year was a special one; before the open classes, about 1pm, a "moving" ceremony was held to honour two club members who died during the year. Two riderless horses were led during the grand entry for Tony (Bones) Harraway, a two-time bull-riding champion, and William Gregory, who in his first year, last year, was named rookie bareback rider of the year.
Rodeo legend Pat McCarthy dedicated his reading of the poem A Cowboy’s Prayer to "these two good cowboys".
Now one of Omarama’s signature events, the Omarama Rodeo took 20 volunteers and the backing of the community and local businesses to put on, Mr Brice said.
The competition continues through the summer and culminates at this year’s National Final Rodeo at Wanaka in March.