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Locals struggle to make their mark at Warkworth Rodeo

Posted at 8:35am Monday 11 Jan, 2021

High speed action in the Rope and Tie.
High speed action in the Rope and Tie.

High speed action in the Rope and Tie.
High speed action in the Rope and Tie.

The steer wrestling was a crowd pleaser.
The steer wrestling was a crowd pleaser.

Local hopeful Jack Retimana failed to hang on for the required eight seconds.
Local hopeful Jack Retimana failed to hang on for the required eight seconds.

The women’s barrel race proved another rodeo highlight.
The women's barrel race proved another rodeo highlight.

Local cowboys and cowgirls failed to figure among the top performers at the Warkworth Rodeo on New Year's Day, but the crowd of around 1200 got to witness plenty of excitement all the same.

One dramatic moment came when a runaway bull, stampeding around the inside perimeter of the arena at Warkworth Showgrounds, sent about half a dozen officials scrambling for safety up the fence at astonishing speed. Fortunately, all escaped injury.

Warkworth Rodeo secretary Paul Manton says he was especially pleased with the saddle bronc event.

“I thought the horses gave the cowboys a hiding. Some of them were thrown up six feet in the air,” he says.

Mr Manton was also happy to honour veteran rodeo enthusiasts Ray Nicklin and Noel Sanderson who between them have 120 years of experience of clearing bulls from the Warkworth Rodeo arena.  

This was their last rodeo performing this role and the pair, now in their late seventies and eighties, were honoured with a celebratory drive around the arena on the back of a Toyota truck to much applause.

Less enthusiastic were dozens of protesters outside the showgrounds claiming rodeo is cruel to animals.

Direct Animal Action spokesperson Apollo Taito says the Rodney Local Board is the last local board in the region, that continues to give approval for rodeo events to take place on council-owned land.

“Needless to say we're disappointed in the board and we question why Auckland Council continues to allow animal abuse for entertainment on their land,” he says.  

Major winners: Rope and Tie, Luke Breingan; Saddle Bronc, Jeremy Dillon; Barrel Race, Minta-Maria Pryor; Steer Wrestling, Waylon Gibson; Bull Ride, Klaydyn Ward; Team Roping, Hayden and C J Church.

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