Budding Taipa cowboys Klay and Bradley Lanigan are rising stars of the rodeo world after being selected into the New Zealand secondary schools rodeo team.
The brothers - along with Whangarei's Dallas Olsen - are part of a team of seven, who will travel to Queensland to compete in three transtasman rodeos against the Australian high schools team.
Klay has been chosen to ride bulls and saddle bronc for the team and younger brother Bradley will be riding steers, while cowgirls like Olsen will compete in barrel racing.
A Year 11 student at Taipa Area School, 15-year-old Klay was selected last September to ride steers in the same competition and he won with a 71-point ride for the New Zealand team at Cappella Rodeo in Queensland.
He said it is an awesome feeling to put on the New Zealand shirt with the silver fern and take to the Aussies with a traditional haka to begin the team challenge.
Rodeo is a tough but rewarding sport. In the 2012 season, Klay finished the season in the top four in the country in All Round Rookie Championship and he might have finished higher but for a broken wrist after a spill off a bull that cut short his season.
The highlight of his year was a win in the $1000 Bull Ride at the Wild Out West Rodeo with a second place in the calf roping bringing a good day at the pay window.
Bradley competed in steer riding and calf roping. After a solid season he finished third in the country for steer riding, when he was only 12-years-old, and when there were no steers at the rodeos he would ride a bull in the second division.
Rodeo is not an easy sport and requires discipline, hard work and long hours of training as well as looking after their horses and training stock. The boys have had great support from their parents, Matt and Reo, as well as their school. They trap possums and train pig dogs in their spare time, as well as working on the farm, to fund their sport.