Wairoa is joining the list of hosts of a growing range of big sports events in Hawke's Bay early next year with confirmation it will stage the popular New Zealand Rodeo Championships from March 24-25.
It will be the second time the championships have been held in the Northern Hawke's Bay town, where rodeo has been a feature of the Wairoa A and P Show each January for several years.
The last time the championships were held in Wairoa was on the first weekend of March 2005, where the potential was shown with the last-day crowd estimated to have topped 2000.
Wairoa Rodeo Club president Jeff Young, who had already been president several years before that event and thought it would help him retire and pass on the reins to younger members, said plans were already being made to cater for more spectators.
"We had to stop selling tickets at the gate, there just wasn't enough room. We are in the early stages of planning, but this event is huge for Wairoa, so we do want to involve the whole town," he said.
He said much of the accommodation was already being booked, and the club, well supported each year by sponsors in the town, was currently seeking the "big-picture" help it needs, along with looking at how local groups and organisations could be involved in running the rodeo and associated events.
The Wairoa A and P Rodeo and the Upper Mohaka Rodeo between Te Pohue and Te Haroto, northwest of Napier on State Highway 5, usually held on consecutive days about the third weekend of each January, are among about 35 rodeos throughout New Zealand each summer.
The championships are for the top eight competitors in each of the eight rodeo events, based on points throughout the season, which starts in October.