The roughest and toughest cowboys and cowgirls in the land will again pit themselves against stubborn beasts when the annual Christmas rodeo circuit rides into Kaitaia, Taipa and Umawera on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (respectively) next week.
The Oruru Valley rodeo at the Peria saleyards on January 3 will be the fourth year running the organising club has held its 'Tough Enough to Wear Pink' campaign, where all competitors wear pink to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.
Event spokesman Mark Robertson noted the Tough Enough to Wear Pink concept - "extremely big in the USA, home of rodeo" - had been the brainchild of previous OVRA president Thomas Garton and his wife Mallonae.
"During a trip to the USA several years back to support their son Curtis, (a professional saddle bronc rider on the esteemed PRCA circuit) they attended a Pink rodeo and were sold on the idea," noted Robertson. He added Oruru Valley was the only North Island rodeo to run with the concept and the first rodeo club in New Zealand to adopt it, adding the Waikouaiti Rodeo in the South Island had since come on board and was also promoting the idea.
Meanwhile, next Tuesday's rodeo was expected to attract all the country's top cowboys including current triple crown holder Rex Church, all-round bareback and steer wrestling champion. In addition to the travelling cowboys/ girls a strong local flavour will be present, including current NZRCA rookie steer wrestling champion, Matt Lanigan, and his 14-year-old-son Klay, in the national secondary schools rodeo team.