Hundreds gathered to watch a night of rodeo action in Central Hawke's Bay yesterday.

Parklee Bucking Bulls hosted a bull-riding event for the first time in Porangahau at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel.

Shane Bird, of Parklee Bucking Bulls, said the event was a success with a crowd of about 800 gathered to watch the action.

The bulls were bucking, the riders were doing well and the crowd enjoyed themselves, he said.

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"The crowd is loving it, it's something new for the community."

Because it was such a success they hoped to run it again in Porangahau as it was a fun night and a great way of getting people to come to the rural settlement, Mr Bird said.

The crowd was full of Porangahau residents and boosted with holiday-makers.

It was a non-points event but there was an impressive line-up of riders and animals who were also warming up for the Wairoa Rodeo today and the Upper Mohaka Rodeo tomorrow.

More than 20 riders attended from both the North and South islands including the current champion, Mervyn Church jnr, of Napier, and Fraser Babbington, of Gisborne, who in the last few years has been in the top 50 in world bull-riding standings.

There was also an under 15 junior bull riders and a local bull ride.

There were 26 bulls in action at Porangahau including the last two NZ Bucking Bulls of the year, Madcap and Geronimo.

The event was held in the paddock behind the pub and a donation from proceeds from last night will go to the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust.