Tuamarina rodeo family affair

The cowboys are coming

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 16:00 19/02/2013
Helen Pihema
Emma Allen

Ready to rodeo: Helen Pihema hopes her enthusiasm for the annual Tua Marina Rodeo will rub off onto grandson Trent Pihema and his Tua Marina School classmates William Baker and Maisie Braun all aged 5, during the all-day event this Sunday.

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The late Danny Pihema of Tuamarina relished helping out in the lead-up to the annual Tua Marina Rodeo and Vintage Farm Machinery Field Day every year for 25 years, his widow says.

That's why Helen Pihema has donated the Danny Pihema Memorial Trophy for the under seven stone (45kg) calf ride event for this Sunday.

The combined rodeo and field day is the major fundraiser for several Tuamarina organisations including Tua Marina School and the residents' association.

Mrs Pihema, a former pupil at the school, said she donated the trophy to remember her husband's zeal for the rodeo. He had preferred staying clear of riding the bucking broncos or bulls in the ring, Mrs Pihema said.

"He wasn't that game," she laughed. "He used to stand back and give the orders."

Mr Pihema died in June 2011.

Mrs Pihema encouraged everyone to go to the rodeo for a great family day out.

Over the years, the rodeo had turned into a Pihema family affair, she said.

Her daughter Rachel Pihema and son Boofy Pihema started out riding sheep at the event. Boofy then graduated to calves, steers and then bulls.

All events at the rodeo were open to all and organisers made sure that for children, it was "safety before fun", he said.

"Adults enter at their own risk," he joked. First-time, gung-ho adult riders were usually a bit of entertainment.

"If they get a bull that just wants to waltz around, they're all right. But if they get one that's a bit fired up, it can be a bit entertaining."

Last year the Tuamarina Rodeo attracted about 3000 people including cowboys from around New Zealand, as well as riders from Australia, Canada and America travelling the "rodeo circuit" around the country, he said.

The Tuamarina Rodeo and Vintage Farm Machinery Field Day is on this Sunday in Blind Creek Rd, Tuamarina.

The first rides will start at 11am. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for children and under-5s are free.

Eftpos will be available.

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- The Marlborough Express

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