Three generations involved in the Richmond Rodeo last Saturday, from left, pick up rider, Ben Nisbett, Rodeo Treasurer, Sharon Nisbett and calf rider, Dustin Nisbett from Wai-iti. Photo: Monique Bergman.

Rodeo is a hit with Nelson crowd

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The cowboys and cowgirls rode into town to compete in the action-packed annual Richmond Rodeo on Saturday.

The sunshine was out in full force and so was the crowd at the Richmond A&P Showgrounds. Rodeo Secretary, Tina Angus-Phyn, says there were a record number of entries this year and the standard of stock was very high.

“In terms of standard for competition, we have had the best we have ever had in Nelson this year, with North Islanders coming down chasing national titles”, says Tina.

For one Wai-iti family, rodeo is in the blood, with three generations being involved in the event on Saturday. The late Leo Nisbett had been involved in rodeo since 1973 and was president of the rodeo club until his passing.

His wife Sharon is now treuser for the club and son Ben is a pick-up rider. Ben’s six-year-old son, Dustin, also competed on the day, in the calf ride.

Ben remembers always being around rodeo and grew up travelling with his dad to competitions, and has continued that tradition with this own young family. He still rides and trains three times a week for pick-up riding and practices stock work.

His wife Sarita and their two children, Dustin and Lexie, often join him on an evening ride.

“Dad taught me a lot about rodeo and hopefully Dustin will compete one day, plus Sarita and Lexie will do barrel riding. It’s an adrenaline rush when you are out there doing it”, says Ben.

The event organised by the Richmond Rodeo Club included bareback riding, saddle bronc, calf roping and riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping, steer riding and the ever-popular bull riding.

“For a small club, we put on a big event, which is only possible thanks to all of our sponsors and the community,” says Tina.

Local boys Marty and Wayne McCormack took home the team roping winning prize, with Marty roping around the head and brother Wayne around the heels.

Barrel racing, a female only competition, received record entries this year with riders from all around the country competing. The most popular event on the day, however, was the bull riding and this year’s thrills and spills didn’t disappoint.

Darren Bird out-classed his compatriots from the North Island to take out the prestigious event.