Local hero and current NZ All Round Champion Rex Church from Otorohanga will riding back to Claudelands International Rodeo again on Saturday 24th November, as is Mother and daughter Mel and Cheyeene Church from Turangi - Cheyeene broke into the open ranks last season and the two are fierce competitors.
Representing Australia will be current Australian All Round Champion Rhys Angland. At age 25, Rhys capped off his best season ever last year by claiming the Saddle Bronc, Bull Ride and All Round titles at the Australian National Finals last June and in 2009 won the Australian Bull Ride title.
Joining Angland is older brother Cody, Jackson Laurie and experienced cowboy Brad Pierce. Cody was at one stage eighth in the World Saddle Bronc standings and often competes in the US. He contests the Bareback and Saddle Bronc events, which is quite rare as the riding styles are completely different and contestants usually specialize in one or the other.
Pierce contests the Saddle Bronc and Bull Ride events and was the 2009 Australian Saddle Bronc Champion.
Organiser Fred Doherty is excited by the calibre of contestants taking part this year -
“This line-up of contestants will have Claudelands rocking” said Doherty “These guys are tough and the New Zealanders will have their work cut out on the night to match up.”
Riders Representing New Zealand:
Bareback: Joe Fentiman (Waitati), Rex Church (Otorohanga), Scott Graham (Galatea)
Saddle Bronc: Ramoan Neho (Kaitaia), Paul Robinson (Dunback), Simon Roughan (Lawrence)
Barrel Race: Mel Church (Turangi), Abby Hutchinson (Whangarei), Cheyeene Church (Turangi), Caitlin Parsons (Rotorua), Kristen Tahau (Napier), Annette McPherson (Putaruru), Rachael Third (Bulls), Gayle Blake (Taupo)
Bull Ride: Jono Reed (Culverden), Johnson Davis (Rotorua), Paddy Church (Turangi), Andrew Jamison (Hawarden)
Rhys Angland, Cody Angland, Jackson Laurie and Brad Pierce
Canadian Riders: Dustin Tompkins, Steven Turner, Logan Hodson
USA Riders: Tony Buchman, Shane Faulkner, Eddie Jacques, Wyatt Denny, Chandler Bownds, Lucas Guilbeau
Stunt Riders: Katie McVean (Cambridge), Sonia Duncan (Christchurch)
Rodeo Clown: Big Al Wilson (AUS)
Announcer: Kedo Olsen (USA)
Live Music: The Brendon Ham Band (Auckland)
NZ Rider Profiles:
ANDREW JAMISON hails from Hawarden, North Canterbury and is a farmer. He is 23 yrs old, single and has rodeoed for around 13 years. He was the NZ Bull Riding champion in 2009 and in 2010 ended up 2nd behind his younger brother Adam. Outside Rodeo Andrew enjoys rugby and hunting.
GAYLE BLAKE is a mother of three from the Taupo area. She is married to retired Bull Rider Ken and has been rodeoing for about 16 years. She is a hair designer by trade and enjoys everything to do with horses. Her current horse Playgirl is a 16 yr old QH mare who was an ex reining horse and has done about seven seasons of Barrel Racing.
JOE FENTIMAN is 25 yrs old and is current NZ Bareback Champion and is just back from his 4th season in Canada. He has been competing for 9 years. He has competed twice at Calgary and has been in the Rookie Bareback twice at the Canadian National Finals. He made the Wild Rose Finals and the Foothills Finals in Canada and also competed in an invitation Rodeo in Brazil. He has contested the NZ National Finals four times. Joe works as a stock manager at Clarks Junction, Dunedin.
JONO REED is 27 a yr old farmer from Culverden, North Canterbury. He has rodeoed extensively in NZ and Canada where he was the Lakeland Rodeo Assn Bull Ride Finals Champion and Foothills Rodeo Assn Bull Ride Finals Champion. Jono has competed in an invitation rodeo in Brazil. He lists his interests outside rodeo as horses, dogs and breeding Angus cattle
KRISTEN TAHAU is a 17 yr old student from the Napier region. She has been Barrel Racing for seven years and was Junior Barrel Race Champion in 2009. She has also been captain of the NZ High School Rodeo team. She enjoys hockey and farming, but as part of a dedicated rodeo family, rodeo is her main focus over the summer. She is riding Ace – a 10 yr old QH mare who is in her 5th season of Barrel Racing.
REX CHURCH hails from Otorohanga in the central North Island and has a huge amount of experience gained over the 33 odd years competing. He is a five event cowboy, still competing in the Bareback, Bull Ride, Rope & Tie, Steer Wrestling and Team Roping and is the current All-Round Champion. His impressive list of achievements include 4 x N.Z.R.C.A. All Round Champion, 2 x Bull Ride Champion and 5 x Bareback Champion. Rex works in the timber industry is married and enjoys rugby, rugby league and tennis.
MELANIE CHURCH is 41 yrs old farmer from the Taupo region. Mel is married to Aaron and has competed for 25 odd years – she now Team Ropes as well as competing in the Barrel Race. She lists her hobbies and interests as supporting her husband and kids in rodeo. Mel is riding Whistler, a 10 yr old Quarter Horse gelding in her 6th season of competing.
SIMON ROUGHAN is from a farming family from Lawrence, in the lower South Island. He is now a horse breaker, has rodeod for 13 years and now just rides in the Saddle Bronc event. He was the 2009 season NZ Saddle Bronc Champion. Simon has competed in Canada and made the finals of the Chinook Rodeo Assn in 2006. He has just returned from another off-season rodeoing and working in the horse breaking industry in the States and made the Colorado Pro Rodeo Assoc Finals. Simon’s other interests include rugby, guitar and starting colts.
PAUL ROBINSON lives in Palmerston, Otago and is a farrier and horse breaker. He has been around Rodeo “forever” and has competed in Australia and North America. He was the N.Z.R.C.A. Rookie Saddle Bronc champion in 2004 and won the Open title on 2011. The Robinson family has played a big part in the development of rodeo in NZ and Paul is continuing the family line.