Crowds flock to rodeo despite protests

David Fletcher came first in the open saddle.

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Around 3000 spectators enjoyed perfect conditions for the 2020 Warkworth Rodeo on New Years Day – marking the 60th time the event has been held at Warkworth Showgrounds.

Warkworth Rodeo secretary Krista Fletcher said numbers were up slightly on last year, everything went smoothly and there were no serious injuries to man or beast during the event.

The top performing Mahurangi riders came from Warkworth. They were David Fletcher, who came first in the Open Saddle and third in Bareback, and 15-year-old Jack Retimana, who came first in the second division Bull Ride.

Francesca Wilkins, also of Warkworth, came first in the Local Barrel Race Winner of the prestigious Open Bull Ride was McCaulie Leather from Australia, who won $750. The ride was sponsored by the Brown family of Pakiri.

Krista Fletcher says Warkworth Rodeo would like to thank the graziers, the sponsors and the public for their support of the event.

Meanwhile, around 80 protesters holding placards from Direct Animal Action lined up outside the Showgrounds, along State Highway 1, to voice their opposition.

Among them was Judy Brooking from Auckland’s North Shore, who brought along her dog Rosie. She described rodeo as “disgusting animal abuse”.

“I don’t like anything where animals are used for entertainment. They are not playthings, they are sentient beings,” she said.

Direct Animal Action is currently running a petition calling on the Rodney Local Board to ban Warkworth Rodeo from the showgrounds.

It plans to present the petition to the Board at its business meeting in March.


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