Man against beast a fiery mix

South Waikato News - - ELECTION 2011 -

Where do you go to see clowns, fire py­rotech­nics and bulls? The an­swer is the rodeo and it was a mag­i­cal night.

The Claude­lands Arena hosted the Man ver­sus Beast In­ter­na­tional Rodeo on Novem­ber 19 and the Ru­ral Lon­es­tar was there to see it all.

I ar­rived at the arena a lit­tle early and scouted out some of the com­peti­tors like Diana Church, a fierce bar­rel racer from Otoro­hanga. Diana’s part­ner in crime was Nemo, a pow­er­fully built horse which she rode dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion that night.

She then in­tro­duced me to Nemo’s best friend, Sponge Bob, a minia­ture white horse. He was so cute I wanted to walk off and put him in my con­vert­ible to take home with me.

Diana comes from a fam­ily of cow­boys, her hus­band Rex and brother-in-law Daryl com­peted in sev­eral events that night. Rex is an New Zealand Rodeo Cow­boys As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pion in bull rid­ing and bare­back.

The event started with some sad­dle bronc­ing and it was un­be­liev­ably thrilling.

As you may have guessed I had a great seat right next to the arena. How­ever, I was un­nerved ev­ery time an an­i­mal came near the rail­ing. Like a pen­e­trat­ing lo­co­mo­tive, the an­i­mal jolted the rail­ings send­ing vibrations around the sta­dium.

My knight in shin­ing ar­mour was an emer­gency med­i­cal technician named Mike. Thanks Mike for pro­tect­ing me from the fran­tic hooves that I kept see­ing com­ing to­wards my head.

The bulls were next and what a heart-pound­ing event. It was def­i­nitely an ex­cit­ing event with com­pet­ing bulls, Fork­lift and Killer at their best. The ob­ject of bull rid­ing is for a rider to re­main on the back of a bull for eight sec­onds. You would think eight sec­onds is not a long time but in bull rid­ing it is a life­time.

Teams from the United States, Canada, Aus­tralia and New Zealand com­peted in four events.

To keep rid­ers safe there is a team of rodeo clowns led by the fear­less ‘‘Dog’’. This guy was very funny. Clowns usu­ally scare me but he was so ec­cen­tric you could not help but fall in love with him.

A rodeo clown has to have speed and agility to help the rider get away from the bulls when the ride is over. I am happy to say there were no ma­jor in­juries.

Have you ever stood next to a Cly­des­dale? These colos­sal and beau­ti­ful horses have an over­whelm­ing pres­ence.

Nick and Jill van der Sande from Te Awa­mutu have some beau­ti­ful Cly­des­dales that were on hand to bring in the en­ter­tain­ment for the night.

The van der Sandes’ Cly­des­dales have been used for wed­dings, rodeo and film.

For a city girl like me the rodeo is a great way to get up close and per­sonal with an­i­mals that you would usu­ally never be able to.

It is a great night out and if I was look­ing for a great first date the rodeo is where you’d find me.

There are more rodeos to catch this year in the North Is­land. Taupo is host­ing a rodeo on De­cem­ber 29, for more dates and lo­ca­tions go to X0X0 Ru­ral Lon­es­tar see ya’ll at the rodeo.

CLOWN­ING AROUND: Ru­ral Lon­es­tar Brenna Parthe­more gets up close and per­sonal with a rodeo clown.

SAD­DLE UP: The Ru­ral Lon­es­tar whipped the Man ver­sus Beast In­ter­na­tional Rodeo into a frenzy on the week­end.

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