‘Top-level’ talent flocks to rodeo

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Scorching sunshine and about 1100 spectators turned out for the 37th annual Lawrence Rodeo on Saturday January 28.

Power, agility and endurance was on show with saddled and bareback horse bronco, bull riding, rope and tie, steer wrestling and no fewer than 61 entrants in the sharp-turning barrel racing.

Lawrence Rodeo Club President and former bull rider Stephen Whitehead was proud of the club’s efforts in making the event a clear success.

‘‘We’ve got top-level competitors from all over the country and as far north as Kaitaia joining a massive turnout of local and South Island talent.

‘‘The skill and action is explosive and happening right in front of your eyes.

‘‘The crowd loves that and it leaves an impression . . . I think that’s why rodeo draws huge support.

‘‘We’re really grateful to our sponsors and everyone doing their bit to bring it all together — especially the riders.’’

The Lawrence Rodeo and Gymkhana grounds on Wetherstone’s Rd were a lively village of food and refreshment stands, sale stalls and entertainment — including antique agricultural contraptions from the Lawrence Tuapeka Vintage Club, a children’s slip and slide, and a wildly popular open undie run.

Laine Lilley’s 63-point ride of over 8 seconds in the second division bull ride almost defied belief.

While Cromwell cowboy Ethan MacNamara drew an unlucky horse in the open bareback, he was able to explain why riders took the risk.

‘‘The ride’s over in a few seconds but the memory of a good ride and all the excitement building up to it before you go out . . . lasts you forever.’’

High steaks . . . Coalgate’s Laine Lilley took the second division bull ride victory with a 63-point ride of well over 8 seconds. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Cowgirls . . . Plenty of rodeo-goers turned out in their sharpest
threads, including locals Sam Roxburgh (14, left) and Tegan
Lead-beater (13). PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Left in the dust . . . Manpower meant a close run in the men’s undie run. PHOTO: NICK BROOK