There was plenty of bucking action at the Mid Northern Rodeo with the best in the sport challenging themselves against the best bovine and equine animals.

However, organisers were disappointed with crowd numbers, the lowest in recent years and the actions of some protesters who did not heed warnings not to film events with high-definition cameras.

Mid Northern Rodeo member Dianna Bradshaw said an approximately 1000-strong crowd watched the first day of competition on Saturday and 700 turned out yesterday.

While they had hoped for more spectators the 205 rodeo competitors did not disappoint, with some excellent rides completed.


The Church family, synonymous with rodeo in New Zealand, had a good rodeo with Merv Church taking out the prestigious open bull ride event yesterday. Local barrel racer Abby Tauariki won the all-women event.

Bradshaw said no animals had been injured over the two days but the club's president Noel Upton ended up in Whangārei hospital with six broken ribs after his supposedly trained and well mannered mount bucked unexpectedly as he was helping clear the main arena of bulls at the end of the day's competition.

Upton landed on the pommel, the front, of the western saddle and cracked his ribs.

Yesterday there was a minute's silence to acknowledge the contribution of long time rodeo supporter Viv Dobson, who died last year.

Bradshaw said police were called on Saturday after animal activists breached a ban on filming with high-definition cameras.

Police confirmed they were called to the grounds but no arrests had been made. Most of the protesters stood at the main gates with placards expressing their concerns about the sport.

Direct Animal Action spokesperson Apollo Taito said the ban was typical of rodeo cowboys who didn't want wider New Zealand to know what really went on at rodeos.

"There is a lack of transparency in rodeo that's seriously concerning. What are they hiding? Are they afraid another animal will die today and it will be caught on camera?

"Rodeo is beyond appalling and we've had a gutsful of cowboys abusing animals for fun."

Rodeo is a competitive sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later Central America, South America, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.