Cowboy gets buzz from riding rodeo
While many Kiwi kids get a buzz from theme parks, it’s the rodeo which excites 15-year-old Kurtis Pertab.
The Year 11 Matamata College student, along with his horse Levi, compete in rodeos across the country.
He has just been named as part of the New Zealand high school rodeo team to compete in Australia in August.
He will compete in breakaway roping.
‘‘It’s the best thing I have achieved so far, I am pretty proud and excited. It’s a big thing, but for me it’s doing what I love to do.’’
Kurtis’s dad Paul, owner of Pertab Bloodstock, is a well known and experienced horse trainer. So it’s no surprise Kurtis is confident around horses.
‘‘I’ve been riding race horses since I was six,’’ he says.
Kurtis, who calls himself a cowboy, started in the rodeo circuit at nine-years-old riding calves.
Since then he has moved on to riding horses and had a short stint on bucking bulls.
He competes from Kaitaia to Invercargill in the open rodeo circuit.
‘‘There’s no bigger buzz than competing in rodeo. I am passionate about it,’’ he says.
‘‘You just get focused on what you are doing, you go into a special zone. All the practise just kicks in and it’s all natural.’’
Two hard knocks to the head means Kurtis no longer participates in bull riding.
Instead he focuses on competing in both calf and team roping.
Calf roping is pretty much as it sounds, however team roping involves competitors working as a pair, each roping the head or heels of a steer.
Kurtis has his sights set on some day winning the New Zealand National Finals Rodeo.
Being in the open circuit means he will be competing against adults who have had years of experience in rodeo.
But this isn’t something that deters him.
‘‘They (adults) have more muscle, so they can be faster. But I have as good a chance of winning as anyone else.’’
He trains in an arena at his home and younger brothers Lennox and Leroy are also getting into calf riding.
He has personally trained his horse Levi, and has a few younger horses under rodeo development training.
Levi loves to compete just as much as Kurtis. The horse is seven years old so Kurtis will continue to compete with him for as long as he can.
‘‘I like to do a good run, that feel of accomplishment. It’s hard to train, there is so much organising, it’s a lot of hard work. You need the stock and a well trained horse.’’
Looking ahead, Kurtis wants to continue competing in rodeo, but has plans to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a horse trainer.
‘‘Cause I have grown up around horse racing, it’s what I see myself doing.’’
He would also like to go to Las Vegas for the American Finals Rodeo, where the absolute best in rodeo compete.
Kurtis Pertab started out in rodeo riding calves.
Kurtis Pertab has made the New Zealand high school rodeo team and will compete in Australia in breakaway roping.