"It's not a matter of when you get hurt, it's how bad.

"But I've only been to hospital once.''

So said Putaruru-based cowboy Darryl McPherson, after winning the 2nd division bull ride at the Lawrence Rodeo on Saturday with a score of 62.

McPherson said the risk was all part of the fun, and it was the social atmosphere that had kept him in the sport for the past nine years.

Advertisement

"I started riding calves, then steers, and then bulls ... It's just part of my life. I love how rodeo is like a big family. Everyone says 'g'day' to each other. I'm from the North Island but I'm able to stay with other riders down here.''

Aaron Church jun, of Turangi, wrestles a steer. He won the steer wrestling event. Photo / Jack Conroy
Aaron Church jun, of Turangi, wrestles a steer. He won the steer wrestling event. Photo / Jack Conroy

People from all over New Zealand flocked to watch and take part in the Lawrence event, and more than 170 people competed in categories including bareback horse-riding, steer wrestling and bull-riding.

Lawrence Rodeo Club president Murray Hellewell said the event was a qualifier for the national rodeo competition in Canterbury.

"The top eight bull riders go off to nationals, as well as the top eight barrel riders, the top eight steer wrestlers.''

But scoring was not calculated in the way of most other sports competitions.

Competitors won prize money for their efforts over the course of many rodeos during the rodeo season.

The overall winner was the person who accumulated the most money throughout the competitions.

Hellewell said rodeo was something that was passed down the generations.

Advertisement

"Mum and dad will compete. Granddad will rope with the grandson. It's a real grass-roots, family-oriented sport.''

Also on offer were food and drink stalls, face-painting, water slides, balloon animals and the lunchtime "undie run'', in which some brave men and women attempted an obstacle course on the muddy pitch, in nothing but their underwear.