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Top-class action at Wanaka Rodeo

Top-class action at Wanaka Rodeo
Ritchie Morrow, of Alexandra, competes in the Open Rope and Tie event at the Wanaka Rodeo. (Picture: RAPA Images)
Ritchie Morrow, of Alexandra, competes in the Open Rope and Tie event at the Wanaka Rodeo. (Picture: RAPA Images)


Some of New Zealand’s best cowboys and cowgirls riding in today’s Wanaka Rodeo are eager to return to the tourist hotspot for the upcoming National Finals Rodeo.

The 51st annual Wanaka Rodeo, held at the Wanaka Rodeo Grounds in Albert Town, attracted about 180 competitors entering classic rodeo events like bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bare back bronc riding, rope and tie, team roping and women’s barrel racing, in junior, second division and open categories.

Some of the place-getters in today’s open events will be working towards an entry to the National Finals Rodeo, to be held at the Wanaka Rodeo Grounds on March 8-9, 2014. The top eight cowboys and cowgirls with the highest total points from the 34 rodeos on the national circuit will be guaranteed a spot in the prestigious finals event.

It’s the first time the National Finals Rodeo will be held at the new purpose-built arena at Albert Town, and it’s been several years since the Wanaka Rodeo Club hosted the event.

Six-time national Rope and Tie and Team Roping Champion Patrick McCarthy, of Rakaia, won the Rope and Tie event today on a new horse he’s been riding this season. For the 2013-14 rodeo season so far, he’s won three Rope and Tie events and is on track to be a finalist in the National Finals Rodeo.

“I went into this season open-minded with a new horse. If my prep keeps going the way it should, hopefully it will be all right for the season overall,” McCarthy says.

Wanaka Rodeo open Bull Ride winner Johnson Davis, of Rotorua, is hopeful that he’ll be able to return to Wanaka in March for the finals.

“It was an outstanding day – it’s an awesome rodeo grounds and the facilities and stock are great. I’d love to be back for the finals.”

Wanaka Rodeo Club president Lyal Cocks says the Wanaka Rodeo ran smoothly and was a huge success with competitors and the 4000-strong crowd alike.

“The Wanaka Rodeo is one of the biggest and best rodeos in the country and we are thrilled with the great turnout and level of competition. There was some top-class action and the Wanaka Rodeo Club is looking forward to hosting the National Finals Rodeo in March,” Cocks says.

About the National Finals Rodeo:

The National Finals Rodeo is the pinnacle event of the rodeo circuit and is held at the Isuzu Arena at the Wanaka Rodeo Grounds on March 8-9, 2014. New Zealand’s best cowboys and cowgirls vie for titles in this annual sporting spectacular. The top eight competitors will go head to head in open bareback, rope and tie, saddle bronc, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and bull riding categories – each event coming with a $5000 prize pool. Skill and strength will be on display over two days promising a great spectacle with plenty of thrills and spills. Kiwi country singer and rising star, Wanaka’s own Jody Direen, will perform at the grounds on March 8 after the first go-round.

Wanaka Rodeo Open Division results (winners only)

Rope and Tie – Patrick McCarthy (Rakaia)

Team Roping – Ritchie Morrow (Alexandra) and Nicole Sarginson (Darfield)

Steer Wrestling – Ritchie Morrow (Alexandra)

Bareback – Stuart de Ridder (Roxburgh)

Saddle Bronc – Paul Robinson (Palmerston)

Barrel Race – Kate Fisher (Fairlie)

Bull Riding – Johnson Davis (Rotorua)

For more information, please contact:

Wanaka Rodeo Club President Lyal Cocks, 027 438 1443

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.