Those who stayed the distance at the Far North Rodeo in Kaitaia on Tuesday witnessed one of the most spectacular wipeouts seen in recent years.

Not surprisingly it came in the marquee event on the day's card, the open bull ride.

With a relatively small field of eight entries, only two riders made it to the eight-second bell, eventual winner Merv Church Jnr on Hooligan and runner-up Liberty Waru on an unnamed bull.

However, it was the last ride of the day where Will Bruce literally shot to fame.


The Hunterville bullrider came out on a beast called Hurricane Harry who clearly meant business, possibly for being put through the chute twice that afternoon (Harry had been released prematurely earlier in the event and ended up in the arena with another bull which had just bucked its rider off).

Mr Bruce was forced to jump off before the bell and landed on his feet beside the bull's neck. But he didn't get clear in time with Hurricane Harry suddenly jack-knifing towards the source of his annoyance.

An estimated one thousand pounds of mean mincemeat managed to get its head under the rider's body and flick him a good 20 feet through the air.

Afterwards, a laconic Mr Bruce appeared none the worse for wear. As one fellow competitor noted, he was the cowboy standing there "like nothing had happened" as he packed up and prepared to hit the Peria Saleyards for the Oruru Valley Rodeo yesterday.

Well aware the only way to get yourself out of an extreme situation was put yourself there in the first place, Mr Bruce, who walked away with a few bruises, was more than happy to relive the dramatic moment.

"I just came out really sweet. On bucking, you need to be reaching forward, [but I] got rocked back behind and just ended up in the air," he said, adding he focused on staying aware throughout, from leaving the ground to re-entry.

"Saw myself falling through the air, saw his horns, didn't want to get hit in the head."

Having to blink at one point during the flight as a natural reaction, Mr Bruce added, "Opened my eyes and I hadn't even hit the ground. I wasn't doing my job properly," he admitted of surviving another day in the office.