A decision to change the date of this season’s Waimate Rodeo is purely down to a scheduling clash, organisers have confirmed.
Usually held in early December, the 62nd annual rodeo will instead take place on February 18, as the Waimate A&P Showgrounds are unavailable in the Waimate Rodeo Club’s preferred timeframe.
“We have changed it because on the dates were were trying to get, the A&P showgrounds had showjumping on that day,” Waimate Rodeo Club secretary Lynn Couper said.
The event is part of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association series, which runs between November and March.
Mrs Couper did not expect the change of date to have a negative impact on the number of participants or spectators, and said if anything, numbers would increase.
In 2016, more than 1500 spectators enjoyed the action, while 190 took part.
“I think it’ll be better. Everybody’s back at school and things are more settled then, so it will appeal to mums and dads who are keen to go out and do something with the kids.
“I expect more competitors, because it’s coming to the end of the rodeo line-up.”
This year’s rodeo will feature the same events as last year: barrel racing, rope and tie, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, bull ride, bareback ride and team roping, as well as a junior barrel race and steer ride.
In previous years, animal welfare group Safe has pleaded with people to boycott rodeo, which it said subjected animals to “fear, stress and torment”.
Mrs Couper said no animal welfare issues had been reported at the Waimate Rodeo, which had always been given a “clean bill of health” by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
A veterinarian was in attendance for the entire event, and St John was on hand to treat any riders if necessary.
“People need to support the rodeo. Because of Safe .. we are becoming a target. One day it may not be here.”