Rodeo day offer lots of thrills

Last updated 05:00 16/01/2014
Eddie Loeffen

BRONC WINS: A rider in the open saddle bronc ride bites the dust.

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Despite thunder, lightning and protesters, Warkworth Rodeo organisers say this month's event was a great success.

About 4000 spectators enjoyed barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling and team roping, organiser Krista Fletcher says.

Around eight people carrying banners were protesting animal cruelty and the Warkworth Rodeo being given special dispensation to hold the event at the Auckland Council owned Warkworth A & P Showgrounds.

Rodeos are prohibited on council land elsewhere in Auckland.

Police were called when the protesters tried to enter yards where riders and horses were preparing for the New Year's Day competition.

Sergeant Bede Haughey of the Warkworth police confirms protesters left peacefully and there were no arrests on the day.

In spite of the protest and threatening weather, the day was a great success, Ms Fletcher says.

"The open bull ride, which is the most popular event, was held early in the afternoon and didn't disappoint.

"The second division bulls earlier in the day gave the public a taste of what was to come when they unseated most riders," she says.

One of the most notable wins was by 18-year-old Ellen Thompson who won the local steer ride with no previous experience.

She received a trophy buckle for her efforts.

Ellen has ridden horses all her life and was nervous at first, but was ready by the time she got on the steer's back in the stalls.

The local barrel race was won by Olivia Daw of Dairy Flat.

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