Cowboys set sights on Warkworth

Bull riding is among the most dangerous and hair-raising rodeo events. Photo, Equine Alley Photography.

Warkworth Rodeo will be back at the Warkworth Showgrounds on January 1 offering all the usual thrills and spills.

It will be the 61st rodeo held at the showgrounds and will feature bareback riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, team roping, rope and tie, saddle bronc, bull riding and steer riding.

Warkworth rodeo secretary Paul Manton says Covid-19 will likely mean fewer overseas cowboys this year, but Warkworth has had  a lot of interest from cowboys in clubs around the country.

They will be competing against the likes of local favourites such as bull rider Jack Retimana.

Mr Manton says events that took a back seat last year will be more to the fore this year – notably the novice and junior steer ride and the barrel racing.

Anyone over 12 can participate in a steer ride by simply turning up on the day and wearing suitable jeans and closed-in shoes. However, the number of steers is limited, so it is advisable to register in advance by texting Krista Fletcher on 021 265 5158. 

There will also be an exhibition of breakaway roping – an event similar to rope and tie, but one that does not require the calf to be thrown and tied.

Rope and tie has long been criticised for its alleged cruelty by animal rights activists, and Mr Manton thinks breakaway roping may ultimately come to replace it.

A top prize of $500 is awarded  in each of the major open events – bareback riding, rope and tie, steer wrestling, barrel racing and saddle bronc. Winners of the junior barrel race, novice steer ride and junior steer ride will take home $50 each.

Gates open at 11am and the day continues until around 4.30pm. Adults $20, children $5, children under 5 free. A family pass is $50.

Know your rodeo events …

Bareback. A rider attempts to stay on his horse using only his balance and by holding on to rigging located behind the horse’s shoulders.

Steer Wrestling. A cowboy dismounts from his horse and uses his skill and strength to wrestle a steer to the ground in the fastest time possible.

Barrel Racing. A horse rider traces a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels as quickly as possible.   

Team Roping. Two ropers on horseback – a header and heeler – attempt to rope a steer. The header attempts to rope the head of a running steer. Once he has succeeded, he turns the steer so that its hind legs face the heeler, who attempts to rope both back legs.   

Rope and Tie. A rider on horseback must rope a calf  before it reaches the end of the arena. The rider then dismounts throws the calf to the ground and ties any three feet together.

Saddle Bronc. A cowboy attempts to ride a bucking horse for eight seconds while holding on to a braided rein.

Bull Riding. A cowboy attempts to ride a bucking bull for eight seconds.

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1 Comment

Time to consign this animal cruelty to the history books

Posted on 15-12-2020 09:49 | By Marianne

It’s disappointing that you are glorifying this form of animal abuse. Readers might like to know that it’s not just animal protection groups like SPCA and SAFE who want an end to rodeo, it is condemned by vets and animal welfare experts around the world. Even the Government’s animal welfare advisors the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) said in their 2018 report that they had ’serious concerns’ over the ’substantial negative impacts’ on the animals used in calf roping (rope & tie) and steer wrestling. They also stated that there are ’a variety of negative impacts’ on the horses and bulls used in bucking and roping events. It’s time for people to stop playing ’cowboy’ at the expense of the animals put through fear and often extreme distress, as well as risking injury and even death. Please stay away from the rodeo if you care about animals!

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