Livestock broker tackles broncos

Madison Taylor's clients were mostly stations and he was also a regular figure at the Temuka stock sale. Photo / Supplied
Madison Taylor's clients were mostly stations and he was also a regular figure at the Temuka stock sale. Photo / Supplied

He's a bronc riding, world-record setting "stick-throwing'' stock agent.

At just 21, Madison Taylor has already represented New Zealand in two very diverse activities, pipe bands and rodeo.

Now living in the Hakataramea Valley, Mr Taylor works for South Island-based independent livestock broking firm Peter Walsh and Associates.

Livestock broker Madison Taylor. Photo / Sally Rae
Livestock broker Madison Taylor. Photo / Sally Rae

It's somewhat of a dream job for a determined young man who became hooked on the rural sector at a young age, despite not coming from a farming background.

He grew up at Rakaia and boarded at St Andrew's College in Christchurch, leaving at the end of year 12 to work in a rural merchandising store.

About a month before his 18th birthday, he joined the team at Peter Walsh and Associates as a trainee in the South Canterbury district.

Acknowledging his youth, Mr Taylor was grateful that the firm's namesake, Peter Walsh, put his faith in him and gave him an opportunity.

After six months' training, he spent about two and a-half years working in the Waimate area, all the while growing in confidence and learning from others, he said.

That was followed by a nine-month stint in North Canterbury, followed by a trip to Australia following rodeos. He returned in September last year.

His patch included the Lindis Pass to Twizel and down to Duntroon.

His clients were mostly stations and he was also a regular figure at the Temuka stock sale.

The best part was "just getting out and about'' seeing the scenery and the people.

He enjoyed the variety of the work.

It involved covering large distances, often using a tank of fuel a day.

At school, Mr Taylor was drum major in the nearly century-old St Andrew's College Pipe Band.

His interest had taken him to Australia and Scotland for competitions and included setting a world record when he tossed his mace about 10.4m in the air.

As far as he knew, the record still stood.

But his pipe band interest took a back seat when he took up rodeo, because the seasons clashed. Getting into rodeo coincided with him moving out of home, as his mother was not keen on the sport, he laughed.

He started on bulls and, about three weeks later, moved on to bareback horses.

In bareback competitions, the rider attempted to stay on the back of his horse using only his balance and a suitcase-type handhold, known as a rigging, which was placed on top of the horse's withers then secured with a cinch.

He did both for a while but this season focused on his bareback riding.

Last year, he tried rodeoing professionally in Australia but he "didn't really make much of a go at it'', he said.

Competing in rodeos in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, he found there were "huge'' differences between the sport in New Zealand and Australia.

Madison Taylor attempts to ride time on a bucking horse. Photo / Stephen Mowbray
Madison Taylor attempts to ride time on a bucking horse. Photo / Stephen Mowbray

It was much bigger in Australia; the world-famous Mt Isa Rodeo, the largest in the southern hemisphere, attracted a crowd of about 25,000 and about 900 competitors, many of whom were professionals.

Mr Taylor acknowledged he was "probably just a bit green'' when he headed to Australia but he learned a lot and that set him up for the New Zealand rodeo season.

He was leading the bareback standings for about half the season and, coming into the national finals in Outram in March, he was in the top three of the eight finalists.

But his chances of winning a national title were dashed when he "choked'' and came eighth.

Mr Taylor was part of the New Zealand team that competed against Australia in an annual transtasman competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show earlier this year.

It involved six nights of competition.

He drew three nice horses on the first three nights, and three tough ones for the remainder of the competition.

He rode five out of the six but the one that eluded him was a four-times winner of bucking horse of the year.

The New Zealand team lost the series.

There was some unfinished business in Australia and Mr Taylor was keen to head back to Mt Isa to have another crack, particularly as they were the same horses that were at Sydney.

He had a bucking machine at home, to practise on, but there was nothing quite like the real thing.

The allure of rodeo was the adrenaline rush and it took "a fair few hours'' to get down from that rush after a ride, he said.

Wining a national title was always the goal and he competed at events throughout both the North and South Islands.

Another goal was to win the Young Auctioneers Competition held in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Show.

He came second last year.

He enjoyed auctioneering, which required confidence and a quick wit.

While his pipe band involvement had been sidelined, it was definitely something he would go back to in the future, he said.

- Otago Daily Times

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