Man against beast a fiery mix
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 www.rodeonz.co.nz. 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.