By NICOLE SHARP
Boots are being oiled and hats dusted off as organisers and competitors gear up for the second annual Waipiata Country Hotel Maniototo Rodeo.
After the success of last year’s event, organisers have worked hard to fine-tune the rodeo and are ready and raring for a bigger and better event this year.
About 1200 people lapped up the sun at the Maniototo Rodeo grounds last year, and organisers are hoping the sun will shine for this year’s event.
Part of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Christmas circuit, the rodeo will be held on December 27 at the Maniototo Rodeo Club grounds in Waipiata-Naseby Rd.
Last year’s rodeo, the first to be held in the area for more than 40 years, attracted competitors from all over New Zealand.
Rodeo club secretary Kim Parkersaid this year promised to be another great showcase of rodeo in the Maniototo, with 185 competitors entered.
Three local events had also been planned alongside the normal rodeo events. A big drawcard would be the local steer ride.
The Westpac Chopper Appeal Hotel Challenge steer ride was a standout in last year’s rodeo, the Ranfurly Hotel’s Wayne Collett winning the title.
Each hotel that enters in the steer ride pays $100 to enter a novice competitor, the winner walking away with $100. The rest of the entry fee money will go to the Westpac Chopper Appeal.
The Maniototo Rodeo is the second rodeo on the Christmas circuit, the first being the Millers Flat Rodeo on Boxing Day. The Omarama Rodeo is on December 28.
Maniototo Rodeo action will begin at 11am on December 27 with the second-division events and the local events scattered among them.
This will be followed by the grand entry and the open section.
Events will include bareback, rope and tie, saddle bronc, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and bull riding.
Three trophies will be awarded on the day – the Geddes-Williamson All-Round Trophy for most points scored by an individual cowboy or cowgirl on the day; the Grant McMillan Memorial Trophy for the champion open bull rider; and the Bob Elliot Memorial Trophy for the open saddle bronc champion.
Plenty of children’s fun will be on offer, including a bouncy castle, water slide and balloon lady, along with a wide array of food and drinks.
There will be a licensed bar with eftpos. Rodeo-goers are not allowed to bring their own alcohol.
For those wanting a comfy bed for the night, or longer, the rodeo’s major sponsor, the Waipiata Country Hotel, will have accommodation and meals available. The hotel is only 2km from the rodeo grounds and a courtesy coach will run between the venues.