Thrills at the rodeo

16:00, Jan 09 2013
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WRESTLING MATCH: Clarry Church wrestles a steer to the ground.
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BACK SLAM: Cam Billing’s horse flips on him in the open saddlebronc class. Both horse and rider were unharmed.
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ROPING STOP: New Zealand Rodeo legend Rex Church about to rope a calf.
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Vantage point: A large crowd savours Warkworth Rodeo action
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Cowboy dress-up: Odette Sullivan-Yates, 8, left, and brother Darcy, 5, from Kaukapakapa in their best outfits.

Bucking bulls and broncos attracted 4000 visitors to the 53rd Warkworth Rodeo on New Year's Day.

They were not disappointed with the bull riding, saddlebronc and bareback riding, rope and tie, women's barrel racing, steer wrestling and team roping on display at the Warkworth Showgrounds.

Heartstopping moments included cowboy Cam Billing's horse flipping on him in the open saddlebronc class.

"Despite that first bucking bronc rolling on him, he got up and was awarded a reride," spectator Sarah Thoroughgood of Warkworth says.

"Once he got on the second horse, he stayed on the appropriate time and got a score.

"To think that less than half an hour before he was under a half-ton animal."


No stranger to rodeo, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell picked up a trophy buckle after winning the local steer ride category.

"The event was also attended by NZ First MP Tracey Martin, and she was very impressed with the day," Warkworth Rodeo secretary Krista Fletcher says.

"She agreed it would be a shame for an event such as this to disappear off the map, and judging by the number of spectators enjoying it all, its popularity is growing."

Krista says the locally bred bulls for the second division bull ride did not disappoint.

"In fact, the bulls won in both the open and the second division bull rides," she says.

"The open had six scores, and 11 buck-offs, and in the second division 15 were bucked off and seven scored."

Krista says no horses and bulls were injured, but battered and bruised cowboys were seen around the showgrounds.

Rodney Times