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The bareback riders get most of the fame and glory, but the local barrel race has its own prestige.
The Maniototo Rodeo race was "fiercely contested" and a great category for up and coming riders, organisers said.
About 700 spectators watched Chatto Creek rider Bridie McLeod (13) take out the local barrel race title from a field of about 12 young competitors riding their ponies around a three-barrel course in the timed event, held as part of the rodeo at Waipiata.
Bridie's sister Jasmine (12), also of Chatto Creek, and cousin Skyla McLeod (11), of Alexandra, also took part in the barrel race and commentators nicknamed them "McLeod's Daughters" after the Australian television drama of the same name.Bridie said she enjoyed "just kicking on" through the course, "and turning tight around the barrels and going fast".
About 120 competitors took part in the annual rodeo, which as well as junior barrel racing and split team roping featured bareback categories and open steer wrestling.
Maniototo Rodeo president Jeremy Hore said a "hard working committee" enjoyed putting on the event, which was important for the Maniototo district and wider rodeo community.
"It's keeping the tradition of rodeo alive and well. It's a fun day out."
The summer rodeo season continues in Omarama today, in Te Anau on Sunday and in Wanaka on January 2.