National, Southern setbacks for rodeos

The rodeo season has hit another bump after the national body decided to cancel this year’s championship.

Eight southern clubs have pulled the pin on the season so far.

The latest are the Millers Flat Rodeo Club and the Waikouaiti Rodeo Club, which postponed their events.

Waikouaiti club president Bruce Thomas said its event would now be held on January 1, 2023.

‘‘It’s doubly disappointing because we are taking over from the races that used to be here on New Year’s Day, but that’s the way life is at the moment.’’

New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association president Lyal Cocks confirmed yesterday the Millers Flat Rodeo Club committee had made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 rodeo.

A new date was yet to be set.

The Millers Flat Rodeo began in 1964 and traditionally marks the start of the South Island rodeo circuit.

Mr Cocks said the association had decided on Saturday to cancel this year’s national circuit and championships.

Many North Island events were also being cancelled and clubs nationwide had had to make ‘‘hard decisions’’ this season.

‘‘Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as go or don’t go.

‘‘Some costs, such as bringing in specialist rodeo bulls, are shared between several events within a district. So if you only have one of those events left running this year, that needs to be factored into the books.’’

Mr Cocks said individual clubs could still hold rodeos and offer prizes this season, but no points would be accumulated towards the national championships.

‘‘It is obviously very disappointing, very disheartening, but with so many cancellations we won’t have a credible season.’’

As of earlier this week, southern circuit rodeos left standing included the Lawrence Rodeo (January 29), the Canterbury Rodeo (January 4), the the Outram Rodeo (February 6) and the Southland Rodeo (February 27).

Waimate and Maniototo’s rodeos (February 26 and 27 respectively) are still scheduled to go ahead.

Joining Millers Flat on the list of postponements are the Mataura Rodeo, Otago’s Mad Bull Rodeo, and the Methven Rodeo, all with new dates yet to be set.

Omarama’s next rodeo is December 28 next year; Te Anau’s will be on December 30 next year.

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