Rodeo, like all sports, relies on youth coming through the ranks.

And that talent was on display yesterday at the Outram rodeo grounds, ahead of the club's annual rodeo tomorrow.

Young Ella Bradley (3), from Whangarei, was literally soaking in the atmosphere, quietly keeping cool in a bucket as her family relaxed during the heat of the afternoon.
The pint-sized cowgirl-in-the-making was an enthusiastic rider, following in the bootsteps of other family members.

While she would not be competing herself, her grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins all would be.

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The rodeo has an international flavour, hosting a team of young competitors from Australia competing in barrel racing, bull riding, youth steer riding and breakaway roping in the Trans Tasman High School Challenge.

The first round was at Southland rodeo on Saturday. It is followed by another round last night at Outram and a third tomorrow.

Barrel racing champion Jen Atkinson, from Middlemarch, has been coaching the Kiwi competitors and also matching the Australians with horses.

Horses were all lent, which was very much appreciated, and it was about matching each competitor with a mount to give them the "best shot''.

"It's about the youth development and giving them some experience and enabling them to carry on through,'' Mrs Atkinson said.

Queensland twins Keeley and Peyton Sibson (15) were both competing in the barrel racing, having taken up the sport four years ago.

The sisters had "done a bit of pony club'', but wanted to do something more extreme.

Having watched their brothers compete at rodeos, they decided to take up the sport.

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They hailed from a vast cattle property at Dysart and would return to boarding school when their trip was over.

Rodeo's appeal for Keeley was getting to be with friends at weekends, while Peyton added: "you get to go fast''.

Rodeos were a little different in Australia; they were usually held at night because of the heat, and it was also not unusual to drive eight or 12 hours to compete, they said.