A big day for bulls, broncs and cowgirl
Story by: SIMON BLOOMBERG - The Nelson Mail - Photo by: Evan Barnes
Emma Flanagan of Richmond was in good company when she bit the dust at the Richmond Rodeo.
Emma, 8, took a spectacular, head-first spill during the children's calf riding at Saturday's rodeo at Richmond Park.
She was one of the many young aspiring cowboys and cowgirls who lined up to ride the calves and sheep at the annual rodeo which attracted a crowd of about 2500.
"I rode the sheep at the rodeo last year but I was too heavy this year so I had to ride the calves," Emma said. "My calf kind of stopped so I kind of landed head first – it hurt a bit."
Emma wasn't alone, with a succession of hardened cowboys also biting the dust on a day when the bulls and broncs won many of the contests. The bull fighters and pick-up riders were kept busy helping cowboys out of tight spots while paramedics treated a stream of bruised and battered bodies.
Rodeo tenderfoots, Richmond Mall manager David Hill and Tasman district deputy mayor Tim King, also came off second best, getting bucked off during the celebrity bullride. Mr Hill lasted just under three seconds and Mr King showed cowboy potential by lasting closer to six.
"They are enormous when you stand above them in the yards," Mr Hill said. "I was contemplating my sanity just before I got on but it was a real buzz. I got a bigger buzz in three seconds than I got when I rode my bike from Nelson to Christchurch in 15 hours or when I got my MBA."
Even the steers had a good day, leaving experienced cowboys like Otago's Dion Church and Mataura's Anthony Perkins dusting off their chaps and shaking their heads in the open steer wrestling.
"They all missed the steers," Richmond Rodeo Club secretary Tina Angus-Phyn said. "That doesn't happen very often, the steers definitely won that one."
However, the cowboys did have their moments with Canterbury's Jono Reed winning the open bullride when he became only the second person to stay on the fearsome Dougal for the mandatory eight seconds. Dougal had been unridden in 15 rodeos before Waipukurau's Johnny Ward tamed him at Rangiora last March.