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Saddle up, Methven

Saddle up, Methven

Methven is saddling up and raring to go with the national rodeo finals the week after the Methven A&P Show.

Methven Rodeo Club social media and marketing person Gemma Oliver said the 30-strong organising committee had been planning the event for the past 18 months, and was on track to bring a spectacular weekend of rodeo to Mid Canterbury.

“It’s been a sizeable amount of time since Mid Canterbury got to watch a national final,” she said.

The last time Methven hosted a national final was 34 years ago in 1990.

“It's exciting, daunting and stressful all at once. We have an amazing committee and there are some stand-out members who have really stepped up and put so much effort into the event.

“We have a committee of 30-plus people led by Methven Rodeo Club president Simon Ward, secretary Rosa Dekker and treasurer Cindy Mackenzie. Our patrons Richard Mee and Warrick Bell are also great assets, having been involved in the 1990 national finals.”

A national final was a much bigger event to organise compared to a normal annual rodeo, with two other functions happening at the same time.

Oliver said the event kicked off on Friday night with the finalists parading through Methven on their horses.

“There will be music, beer and food trucks and also the back number ceremony where we introduce the finalists to the community. It's a free event and we encourage everyone to come along and have a look.”

On Saturday there is the rodeo final and the official prizegiving on Saturday night after the competition.

“I’ve been involved with Young Farmer of the Year at a national level when it was at Timaru eight years ago and this has a similar feel to it in terms of scale and moving parts with several events happening at once,” Oliver who works a rural manager for FMG covering Mid Canterbury when she’s not organising rodeos or competing in them, said.

About 65 of the country’s top rodeo riders will be in Methven for the final, competing in eight events – bareback, breakaway roping, rope and tie, saddle bronc, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and the bull ride.

The top eight contestants in each category will compete in the final.

“We will have local MP James Meager opening our grand entry ceremony and also popular radio personality Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins as our announcer for the day. You just never know who you might see in the crowd at a rodeo,” Oliver said.

Lani Jackson, who won the barrel racing in the 1990 national final, will be back in Methven competing in the breakaway roping.

Breakaway roping is a brand new woman’s sport for New Zealand rodeo and this will be the first time it has been part of the national finals, Oliver said.

It’s similar to rope and tie but the rope is tied to the saddle horn by a piece of cotton string and when the cattlebeast is roped and the horse stops, the moving cattlebeast breaks the thin cotton string and the clock stops.

“It’s a fast and exciting sport and we have seen some super-quick times this season with the ladies getting three-second runs. Blink and you miss it!”

By Sharon Davis