Rodeo aims to rope in townie supporters

By Doug Laing

The family and community feel of rural town New Zealand was unmistakable yesterday as the Wallace family and friends kicked into action for the Wairoa Show and the start of a big weekend for rodeo in Hawke's Bay.

Mum and dad Richard and Harmony and daughters Cindy, Annabel and Hannah were all involved setting up as the show prepared for a local rodeo last night and the big event today, an open and second division rodeo which includes a transtasman junior test match.

Many, including the more than 20 teenagers in the transtasman event's saddle bronc riding, barrel race, steer and bull riding-ride, will hit the road later in the day for the another test match at the second division Upper Mohaka Rodeo tomorrow.

More than 200 entries were received for the Wairoa rodeo, a growing attraction at the show where other features on the third and last day today include the horse and pony events, the shearing championships and the sheep dog trials, along with other events to include more townspeople.

The Australians aren't the only ones to have come a long way, with a 1700km round trip being made by Kaitaia bronc rider Ramone Neho, but he won't be competing.

Injured, he's come as support crew for younger brother Tyrone.

None of the the Wallace family rides, the spur for their involvement being Cindy's partner, bullrider Brent Gallagher. There are key roles for Harmony, the secretary, and Ardkeen farmer Richard, who "makes sure" the riders start in the right order.

Also in camp are pick-up rider Dick Halley, who for at least 16 years has chased and caught the animals after they part company with their riders. There's also life-member Bruce Proffit, who's been involved for "about 30 years" and gateman Mike Foley, with sons Stephen and Mark as helpers.

Show president David Martin said the close proximity of the rodeo, dog trials, horse and pony events and shearing provided a unique atmosphere at the show. "It's all there," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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