He broke his collarbone last year, got a face full of mud this year, and that has left Chad Ryan hoping the Millers Flat rodeo will give him better luck next year.
Ryan, of Bluff, who competed in the Boxing Day rodeo in the second division bull ride, found himself trying not to repeat the mistakes of the Waimate Rodeo, three weeks ago, and over-compensated, only to find himself thrown into the mud.
Competing for five years, he admitted he probably could do better if he worked at it more. But he enjoys the sport and has travelled to Mexico to compete.
"Over there every rodeo has a buckle for every event and there are some big rewards," Ryan said.
"Now I just have to keep my day job at the freezing works to pay for this and call it sport."
Some serious work by the Millers Flat Rodeo Club during the year has resulted in the old wooden chutes replaced by steel, making it safer for both animals and riders, but quite a lot noisier for those standing close.
The atmosphere among the cowboys was slightly different this year.
In previous years, Millers Flat has been the first of the circuit followed immediately by Waimate and Omarama before Te Anau and Wanaka in the New Year, but with Waimate changing its date to coincide with its Strawberry Fair, there will not be the same urgency to leave the Millers Flat grounds and travel to the next venue.
Talking to several competitors, the feeling would seem to be they hope to return to the norm next year.
As the rain cleared and the temperature warmed up, the crowd built steadily and they in turn warmed to the action in the arena. Halfway through the programme, ambulance officers had been able to enjoy the event, and an increased police presence was not anticipating any problems.
Constable Lance Davies, of Roxburgh Police, said: "They are a pretty harmless lot down here."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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