Fun and rodeo draw crowds at Wairoa A&P show

By Alice Lock -
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Ernie Rika (Rotorua) competing in the Open Bull Ride at the 2017 Wairoa A&P Rodeo. Photo / Sue Wilson
Ernie Rika (Rotorua) competing in the Open Bull Ride at the 2017 Wairoa A&P Rodeo. Photo / Sue Wilson

A record number of entrants were hanging on for dear life as horses kicked and bulls bucked at the Wairoa A&P Show rodeo.

The rodeo, despite attempts from animal rights groups to get such event banned in New Zealand, drew a large crowd to the arena on both Friday and Saturday.

Aron Tahuri, her daughter Bree and nieces Santana and Sitivah were one of the many groups who enjoyed the thrill-seeking entertainment.

"I love coming here and the three girls really enjoy watching it, especially with the bucking horses," Ms Tahuri said.

Before the rodeo animal rights group SAFE asked people to boycott the event and it was expected representatives of such organisations would be among the crowd.

Wairoa Rodeo Club member Paddy Bull said if such groups were there no fuss seemed to have been made.

"I didn't see anyone protesting or anything. The day went very smoothly with no major injuries to anyone."

Organisers received 207 entries from 187 competitors, which was almost double usual numbers.

Mr Bull said the weather during both days created perfect conditions for the stock, because it was not too hot or cold.

"We had record numbers and a strong crowd throughout the day so was all round a great event."

Meanwhile the other side of the showgrounds featured the popular show jumping, shearing, fencing and sideshow entertainment.

Equestrian secretary Merryn Maxwell said the entries for all horse events this year were very good.

"A lot of the lower classes have had more people enter than previous years and the Pony Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon had 21 enter which was great for Wairoa."

One rider soaking up the action was Anna Rasmussen from Havelock North on her horse Hunter.

Only in her second show competing on Hunter, the 14-year-old took out the Novice Working Hunter and Handy Hunter Jump, including wire jump.

"Hunter has never done that class before so it was pretty good and I got two cups which was cool."

When asked what she enjoyed most about competing in the Wairoa Show she said the atmosphere.

"I have lots of mates here who are also competing so it is really fun.

We all ride together."

Wairoa A&P president Ross Mitchell said that as well as the strong entries for horse events the shearing numbers were also on the rise.

"The speed shear on Friday night drew a good crowd and its been strong throughout Saturday too. I think the signs all point to the show being a boomer and the grounds look awesome."

New Zealand television personality and comedian Te Radar, who made his way down from Auckland for the show, agreed with Mr Mitchell that the grounds were beautiful.

"I just love coming here, there are beautiful trees and the people are wonderful. It is a small show but there is something about the compactness of it that I like."

The national celebrity judged a range of events including the children's scarecrow competition, the baking competition and the thistle-growing competition.

He enjoyed watching a bit of the fencing on Saturday morning and then got right behind the shearing in the afternoon.

"It was an honour to be invited back and you get to meet all kinds of people. Also rural people always know how to put on a great spread which is an added bonus."

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