Cow­boy gets buzz from rid­ing rodeo

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

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.

SUPPLIED

Kur­tis Pertab started out in rodeo rid­ing calves.

SUPPLIED

Kur­tis Pertab has made the New Zealand high school rodeo team and will com­pete in Aus­tralia in break­away rop­ing.

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