Kiwis win rodeo showdown

By Mike Dinsdale

9 comments
About 40 people protested outside the Mid Northern Rodeo at Maungatapere.
About 40 people protested outside the Mid Northern Rodeo at Maungatapere.

Courteous protesters outside and some tough transtasman rivalry inside marked the 51st Mid Northern Rodeo, with more than 2500 people attending the Whangarei event.

Mid Northern Rodeo Association secretary Dianna Bradshaw said about 1000 went to the rodeo at Maungatapere on Saturday and another 1500 yesterday for what she described as some wonderful displays of work by the cowboys on show.

Ms Bradshaw said the event also hosted the New Zealand versus Australia high school championship and after some tough competition, the Kiwis came out on top.

"It's always good to get one over the Aussies and our young guys did really well," she said.

"Over the two days we also gave out about $33,000 in prizemoney, which is why we get some of the country's best cowboys along. There was some very good work on show in all the categories. It's such a spectacular sport to watch and photograph."

A group of more than 40 activists from Direct Animal Action, who want the Government to implement a nationwide ban on rodeo, protested outside the rodeo on Saturday.

"It looked like the number of rodeo attendees was down due to wet weather but we were out again in full force," Direct Animal Action spokeswoman Kathleen Lafferty said.

"We felt supported by the public and received toots of support from passers-by. We know that Kiwis don't like animal cruelty. A petition supported by the SPCA against rodeo has received around 30,000 signatures and a poll has shown 89 per cent of the public want rodeo banned. Investigations reveal that animals are regularly abused at rodeos in our country. This season a horse has already died after it became stuck in a fence. Last season two bulls were so severely injured that they had to be euthanised."

Ms Bradshaw said the activists were welcome to protest outside the rodeo, but she had been surprised that they had only stuck around for less than an hour.

"They were very courteous, but it was raining a bit. Everybody is entitled to their point of view," she said.

Ms Bradshaw said no animals were injured during the rodeo but several cowboys received broken bones.

"So it was 3-0 to the animals."

- Northern Advocate

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