New generation looms for Lake Hawea's McCarthy rodeo family
There's been a McCarthy compete at every one of the wanaka rodeo club's events since 1963. Marjorie Cook caught up with former national rope and tie champion Patrick McCarthy and his wife Deanna.
The McCarthy name is synonymous with rodeo at Hawea Flat and a third generation is on its way.
Pat McCarthy is a former national steer wrestling and calf roping champion and a rodeo legend in the area.
This season son Patrick McCarthy will be the Wanaka Rodeo arena director for the third year in a row.
With wife Deanna expecting their first child in May, his main focus in 2017 will be family, their Farmbuild construction business and farming.
The couple are also strong competitors and qualified for the 2016 national final's rodeo.
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Pat moved to Chatto Creek about a month ago paved the way for Patrick and Deanna to return to Hawea Flat from Canterbury and take over the family farm.
Patrick belonged to the Methven Club for about five years and has rejoined the Wanaka club.
The couple are planning to continue to the Pat's McCarthy Jackpot Rodeo - an off season opportunity for developing junior rodeo enthusiasts and others to get together.
Pat senior is also developing an arena at Chatto Creek to host a similar event there.
Deanna grew up in a Wanaka farming family and had competed as a barrel racer before being encouraged to join her husband in team events.
"My grandfather, Norman Pittaway, was one of the founders of the Wanaka Rodeo Club and I enjoyed it. I met Patrick about 2011 and started competing about 2013," she said.
Patrick grew up riding sheep and calves. He won his first national open team title when he was aged just 14 but was not eligible for the prize because he was under 15.
During his career, he won eight New Zealand team roping titles and eight rope and tie national titles and an all round national title.
Two of his team titles were shared with his sister Kate Haugh, who lives near Geraldine with her husband Ben and their children.
Rodeo also took him to Canada and the United States for two seasons.
"It was great. I loved it. It is not unlike here but it is just on a huge scale. I worked as a builder during the week and would do rodeos in the weekend. Once I did four rodeos in one day . . . Now I am lucky to do two rodeos a season," he said.
The Wanaka Rodeo arena moved from town to Albert Town three years ago and McCarthy is impressed with how the venue is developing.
"The new facility there is great. It's been all planted out for shade, it is great for kids and far enough out of town that it is not getting in people's way. Long term for the Wanaka Rodeo Club, it would be great to have another nationals there. And it's probably the best rodeo in New Zealand," he said.
More than 5000 spectators are expected to attend the Wanaka Rodeo on January 2.