Man against beast, that’s all there is to it
‘‘In New Zealand everyone wants to break open. That is when you ride with the big-wigs.’’
Fred Parker started his rodeo career in nappies, and he reckons he’ll finish it in nappies too.
The president of the Millers Flat Rodeo Club rode his first sheep when he was four-years-old but work commitments saw him retire at 25. At 51-years, he has remained involved in rodeos and doesn’t plan on giving it up any time soon.
‘‘I came here in nappies and I’ll probably leave in nappies.’’
At this year’s signature Boxing Day event, Parker was the chute boss, making sure the cowboys weren’t ‘‘mucking around too much’’.
‘‘It is a great adrenaline buzz...it is man against beast, that is all there is to it.’’
The rodeo, in its 53rd year, kicks of the summer holiday rodeo circuit and this year over 120 riders competed in the event.
The club was trying to attract younger riders, and held a clinic earlier in November which had good attendance, he said.
‘‘We had quite a few first timers so hopefully we will get more next year.’’
Highlights this year included Hawarden cowboy Tim Costello ‘‘breaking open’’.
Costello, also a full-time model, moved from the second division saddle bronc to open bareback.
‘‘In New Zealand everyone wants to break open.
‘‘That is when you ride with the big-wigs.’’
The 26-year-old won top place in the second division with 66 points, and came second in the open bareback with 63 points.
He had been modelling fulltime for about three months and admitted it was ‘‘pretty rare’’ for male models to be in the rodeo scene.
The addition of shade sails this year was welcomed by the large crowd who took shelter from the scorching sun.
Parker said the club had been working hard at setting the standards in NZ Rodeo by putting the welfare of the stock and spectators first, with the addition of the shade sails.
‘‘We do our utmost to ensure the stock are looked after and are in good physical condition before and after the day.
‘‘Our onsite vet will testify to this and the commitment we have to the welfare of the animals.’’
Secretary Mark Booth said the day ran smoothly and the bank was packed.
Millers Flat Rodeo action on Boxing Day.