It’s the first on the rodeo Christmas circuit and this year the renowned Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo is celebrating a very special one.
The Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo club celebrate their 50th anniversary this Boxing Day and is home to the legendary Church family, the same family that has dominated New Zealand Rodeo for more than 20 years.
The south-Rotorua rodeo club boast they are New Zealand Rodeo’s “Home of Champions” and ride on their reputation of winning more than 70 national championship titles expect crowds of up to 4000 people.
Local, national and international competitors range from as young as five-years-old to as old as 65-years-old and enter in events such as the barrel race, the calf ride and the centre stage main event, the bucking-bull ride.
Part of the rodeo champion family, Darryl Church pretty much born in the saddle was a stand out competitor as usual.
Around two thousand turned out to Rerewhakaaitu, and organisers say in its day, it was famous for being one of the toughest places to compete.
That toughness isn't enough to deter these youngsters from rising up the ranks.
All three young men showing their flare are members of the Church family, with Merv Church Jnr the current holder of the Professional Bull Riders NZ Cup.
So rodeo in Rerewhakaitu is in safe hands the next event on the calendar is the annual Gisborne Rodeo tomorrow.