Local hero and current NZ All Round Champion Rex Church from Otorohanga will riding back to Claudelands International Rodeo again on November 24, as is mother and daughter Mel and Cheyeene Church from Turangi - Cheyeene broke into the open ranks last season and the two are fierce competitors.
Representing Australia will be current Australian All Round Champion Rhys Angland. At age 25, Rhys capped off his best season ever last year by claiming the Saddle Bronc, Bull Ride and All Round titles at the Australian National Finals last June and in 2009 won the Australian Bull Ride title.
Joining Angland is older brother Cody, Jackson Laurie and experienced cowboy Brad Pierce. Cody was at one stage eighth in the World Saddle Bronc standings and often competes in the US.
He contests the Bareback and Saddle Bronc events, which is quite rare as the riding styles are completely different and contestants usually specialise in one or the other.
Pierce contests the Saddle Bronc and Bull Ride events and was the 2009 Australian Saddle Bronc Champion.
Organiser Fred Doherty said he was excited by the calibre of contestants taking part this year.
"This line-up of contestants will have Claudelands rocking", he said.
"These guys are tough and the New Zealanders will have their work cut out on the night to match up."
Riders Representing New Zealand are; Bareback: Joe Fentiman (Waitati), Rex Church (Otorohanga), Scott Graham (Galatea).
Saddle Bronc: Ramoan Neho (Kaitaia), Paul Robinson (Dunback), Simon Roughan (Lawrence)
Barrel Race: Mel Church (Turangi), Abby Hutchinson (Whangarei), Cheyeene Church (Turangi), Caitlin Parsons (Rotorua), Kristen Tahau (Napier), Annette McPherson (Putaruru), Rachael Third (Bulls), Gayle Blake (Taupo).
Bull Ride: Jono Reed (Culverden), Johnson Davis (Rotorua), Paddy Church (Turangi), Andrew Jamison (Hawarden).
Australian Riders are; Rhys Angland, Cody Angland, Jackson Laurie and Brad Pierce.
Canadian Riders are; Dustin Tompkins, Steven Turner, Logan Hodson.
USA Riders are; Tony Buchman, Shane Faulkner, Eddie Jacques, Wyatt Denny, Chandler Bownds, Lucas Guilbeau.
Stunt Riders are; Katie McVean (Cambridge), Sonia Duncan (Christchurch)
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