Cowgirl spurred on to ride the bulls

It was a hot, dusty and action packed day at the Canterbury Rodeo in Mandeville, North Canterbury yesterday.

It's not easy being the only girl competing against the boys but cowgirl Libby Bent was determined to prove she's just as good as any of them.

The 15-year-old from Tai Tapu was the only girl competing in the steer [juvenile bull] riding competitions at the Canterbury Rodeo in Mandeville, North Canterbury, yesterday.

"I love it because it's such an adrenaline rush," she said.

She has ridden horses all her life but started riding steers when she was 14, and is sixth in the national rodeo standards for junior steer riding.

Despite her achievement, she might not be able to get into the next level of bull riding because she's a girl.

"It's my dream to get into second division [bull riding]," she said.

"Hopefully they will let me in but since I'm a chick, they're having doubts."

Her goal this year was to be placed among the top five junior steer riders in New Zealand. So far, she's in second place.

"[The boys] thought I wouldn't have had the guts to do it [ride steers] and they didn't think I was much of a threat but now their points of view have changed.

"But we still just all have fun and it's a crazy adrenaline rush.

"One day I'm going to get into open division bull riding somewhere in the world. I've just got a lot of determination."

Thousands of Cantabrians turned out in the blazing heat to see rogue bulls and bucking broncos at the rodeo.

"It's so much fun," said Florence Loader, of Rangiora.

"The bull riding is my favourite."

This was the first time she'd come to a rodeo.

"It's something different," said Corey McDonald, of New Brighton, who came with his family.

"The kids are loving it. I like the bull rides more than anything."

Fairfax Media