Rodeo season in full swing around region

Lyal Cocks.
Lyal Cocks.
Lawrence Rodeo Club is hosting its annual rodeo this Saturday, and with another five being held throughout the region in February and March, fans of the sport have plenty of choice for action.

New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association president Lyal Cocks, of Wanaka, said with the rodeo season about halfway through, he had heard reports of good crowds at events.

''It is looking really good,'' Mr Cocks said.

He had attended the Millers Flat Rodeo Club on Boxing Day and that attracted good numbers of spectators, as had other rodeos, including Wanaka, on January 2, and Te Anau, on December 30.

''Wanaka had about 4000, which is pretty standard for Wanaka as we get lots of visitors,'' he said.

He said many competitors from Otago and Southland travelled to events throughout the country and often did well.

As an example, at the Mid Northern Rodeo near Whangarei, held on January 12 and 13,

Michael Sanderson, of Middlemarch, won the rope and tie event on the first day. Jenny Atkinson, also of Middlemarch, won the barrel race on the first day, while Alyce Perkins, of Gore, won the open barrel race on the second day.

Dean Hodges, of Wanaka, and Pat McCarthy, of Chatto Creek, won the team roping competition on the first day and Tate McDonald, of Athol, won the bareback competitions on both days.

Mr Cocks said one of the highlights of this year's rodeo calendar was on February 9 - the Mataura Rodeo Club's 50th rodeo on its grounds.

The association is keen to encourage young people to get involved with the sport.

Members of the 2019 Youth Development High School Challenge Team will be competing in some of the southern rodeos, including the Southland Rodeo on February 2, and Outram on February 6.

The New Zealand team features 12 school pupils and they will compete in a transtasman challenge against an Australian team.

Waimate will host a rodeo on February 17 and Waikouaiti on March 2.

The National Final Rodeo will in Canterbury on March 9.

The Millers Flat Rodeo Club will host the national finals in March 2020.

Secretary Mark Booth said it was now starting to look at what was required for the national finals.

''We also need to look at what we need, sort out sponsors, pricing, booking halls, bands, catering etc.

''We will keep an eye on this year's finals in Canterbury to get an indication of what we need to do.''

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