Richmond Rodeo

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There was plenty to yeehah about at the Richmond Rodeo with nine of the 10 cowboys in the open bull ride getting unceremoniously dumped and lots of bucking good action in the bareback and saddle bronc events.

But there was much more to the rodeo than dusty cowboys and bucking bulls and broncs. There was some finesse and glamour as well with the barrel racers showing speed and skill and Australian Rodeo Queen Latoya Ward enchanting the crowd of around 1700.

“The open bulls were tough,” Richmond Rodeo Club secretary Tina Angus-Phyn says. “They were well-rested after the Canterbury Rodeo was cancelled and Ernie Rika was the only rider who could stay on.”

A group of greenhorn barrel racers from Nelson fared a lot better, all making slow but steady debuts.

”I lost a stirrup before the fist barrel but that just made it more interesting,” Angela Cotton says. “I got around alright and all the barrels stayed up.”

Jo Rushbrooke also had a clear round although admits she was a little worried when her horse thought he was still in the showjumping ring and lined up the second barrel.

“He was going straight at it – I thought he was going to try and jump it,” Jo says.

Lynley Wilson was also relieved to have a clear run after her horse Harry bucked all the way round their one-and-only practise run during the week. Linda Cotton, Kim Charles and Felicty Hart also made a successful transition from showjumping to barrel racing.

Tina says Latoya, who was a special guest at the rodeo, was a big hit.

“Everyone loved her. She wandered around the crowd and talked to the spectators – she was delightful.”

Latoya was busy signing autographs and presenting sashes to the winners of the Miss Cowgirl and Mr Cowboy contest. Proud granddad and Nelson rodeo veteran Mike Reedy’s grandchildren, Jessie, two, and Sam Barlow, five, won the Miss Cowgirl Pre-school Mr Cowboy Primary School.

Unfortunately, there was also some unwanted drama with one cowboy breaking his leg when the bull he was sitting on charged at the gates in the mounting pen. The rider was thrown from the bull as soon as the gates opened and managed to limp to safety.

The bull was also injured and had to be put down which Tina says is a rare occurrence at the Richmond Rodeo.

“I can’t remember the last time we had a rider or animal was injured. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it’s handled very professionally by the vets and medical staff.”

James Pinfold won the bare back bronc, Paul Robinson, Graeme Gannon and Ross Dowling were first equal in the saddle bronc, Justine Davis won the barrel racing and Len Mackey and Nye Harborne won the teaming roping.

Tina says they were pleased with crowd which was treated to a “longer than usual” programme after a rush of late entries.

“It was a brilliant crowd. They were enthusiastic and stayed right to the end.”

Story by Simon Bloomberg.