Big bucks to hold on to bucking bulls and broncos

Earning hundreds of dollars in under 10 seconds may seem like easy money, but the cowboys who rode bucking broncos and three-quarter-tonne bulls at Richmond Rodeo know it is not that simple.

Jimmy Booth, an 18-year-old mechanic from Fairlie, managed to cling on to Lee Enfield the bull for eight seconds to win the hotly contested open bull ride on Saturday.

"It's every cowboy's aim," he said.

HOLD YOUR HORSES: A competitor in the open saddle bronco event at the Richmond Rodeo on Saturday.
HOLD YOUR HORSES: A competitor in the open saddle bronco event at the Richmond Rodeo on Saturday.

Mr Booth started riding calves at 8 years old, and spent the next decade working his way up through the divisions.

Riders must have won more than $2500 in prize money before they can compete in the open bull sections. The Richmond Rodeo Club had $13,000 worth of prize money spread over 12 sections on the day, also donating $500 to Richmond's Riding for the Disabled branch.

Mr Booth finally made more than $2500 and "broke open" last year, but this competition is his first win for the season.

"It's not strength that wins it, it's all technique," he said.

Brought in from Rangiora, the bulls have tough-guy names like Big Tex, Jake the Muss and Captain Hook.

Richmond Rodeo Club member Jack Gould, 17, looked forward to the performance by Dougal the bull, and that of a new black bull being ridden for the first time.

Attending with his family, Jack's job was to stand in the arena and let the bulls out of their chutes.

"You can get pushed around by the bulls, but the cowboys get the worst, they get hammered," he said.

Murchison apprentice engineer Robbie Bourke prepared to get hammered by horses in the second division bareback ride around midday. He had friends cover his left arm in medical tape from shoulder to wrist to prevent hyperextension of the elbow joint.

"The horse is that strong that if you don't have the arm tape, you can straighten your elbow and it will pop out."

The ride was Mr Bourke's first attempt at bareback riding after a disastrous run that landed him in hospital with an injured back.

Helping to tape his wrist, older brother Harry was feeling tense.

"I haven't watched Robbie do a bareback ride yet, so I'm all nerves."

Mr Bourke managed to come off his horse uninjured, and was runner-up in the second division bullride.

The second division bareback section was won by James Pinfold, from Methven, and the open bareback ride was won by the only cowboy who qualified, Scott Graham, of Galatea.

Nelson parents Carol and Kelvin Heiford watched proudly as their 3-year-old son, Max, and his brother, Quinn, 4, held on to their woolly broncos for dear life during the sheep ride.

"I wasn't nervous, they take worse spills at home," Mrs Heiford said.

Richmond Rodeo Club member Di Hamilton said it was special for the small club to be able to introduce people to rodeo.

As well as the category winners mentioned, Bruce Thomas, of Middlemarch, won the rope and tie, Christchurch man Chris Hood took out the steer wrestling, Mosgiel's Larry Williamson came first in saddle bronc, Tineka McDonald, from Darfield, won the barrel race and Ray Woodley and Roy Tisdall dominated the team roping.

The Nelson Mail