Twelve young rodeo riders from across the country have been specially selected to participate in top rodeos across Australia in the hopes to upskill themselves and carry on the tradition of rodeo in New Zealand.
Bull Rider Clifford Fogarty Wallace told Te Kāea, “The prize money is pretty good but it's more like the people, seeing different people. I've always wanted to be in the team and last year I got the call so I was pretty wrapped.”
Organiser Charlie Halley says, “We have three bull riders, three barrel racers, three steer riders and we've included break away ropers so we have three of them.”
Clifford is one of twelve selected for the Youth Development squad. He'll be looking to try his luck in the steer riding.
Wallace says, “It's pretty competitive, it's been going since I can remember. It's better over there because they're further than us in rodeo.”
Halley says, “They spend a lot of time with their kids bringing them up through the roughstock.”
The team will compete at the Capella, Rockhampton and St Brendan's College Rodeos. An experience Halley hopes will upskill the next generation.
Wallace says, “My long term goal is to compete at the united states and compete at the PBR.”
Halley says, “If you don't have the kids coming up through the grades, you've got no sport so we make a big effort to try and develop our kids and we run clinics and start them young.”
These cowboys say it's just as much about maintaining what's not just a sport but a way of life.
Rodeo celebrity Clarry Church says, “It's a lifestyle, it's got tikanga, it teaches our young ones respect.”
The team set off for Australia in August for their first competition.