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Bullride brings the crowd

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Bucking bulls and crazy cowboys might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Martinborough showed solid support for the annual bull ride event.

Local riders and others from around the country took to the arena on Lake Ferry Rd on Friday night to try and impress the festive crowd and judges.

Parklee bullride club secretary Shane Bird said they always had plenty of support when they visited Martinborough.

“We always get massive support here.

“The weather obviously played a big part in it, and it was a perfect day for it.”

It wasn’t just the spectators that showed their appreciation, he said.

“Support down there is amazing from sponsors, volunteers, and right through to the crowd.

“It’s incredible how much everyone wants to help out.”

They would definitely be back for another round next year, he said.

The event was used as a fundraiser for the Martinborough Rugby Club, and club president Rachael Colton said they couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.

“We haven’t got final numbers but in comparison to other years it seems pretty popular.

“I talked to a few people that came for the first time, and they had a blast — for us, that’s what it’s about.”

The weather had been crucial in getting a big crowd along, she said.

“It was a really beautiful day — we didn’t have any problems or anything and everyone left happy.”

It wasn’t quite everyone that left happy, however, after a group of around 20 animal rights activists were present to protest the event at the entrance to the arena.

Wellington Animal Rights Network spokesperson Paul Christeller was one of them, and said they wanted a ban on all rodeo events across New Zealand.

“It’s a grievous issue internationally, and locally we’re there to educate the public on rodeo cruelty.

“It’s barbaric and needs to end.”

Grassroots groups were working nationwide to try and get a ban implemented, he said.

“A 2016 petition got around 60,000 signatures calling for a rodeo ban.

“We’re confident they will ban rodeo, but we need to educate people.”


  1. Last night we joined the protest line standing quietly outside the bull riding event and met some lovely people. One or two of the folks fro rodeo came out and chatted and we enjoyed a bit of friendly banter until a guy in a high viz vest, so probably one of the staff walked up to within two feet of two young women on the protest line and sprayed an unknown fluid into their eyes and faces. It was photographed.

    Tragically also last night “a bull paid the ultimate price at the Parklee Bullride in Martinborough. After breaking his leg in the ring he lay there for almost 10 minutes bellowing and salivating. The staff couldn’t get him up so they brought in some of the other bulls to encourage him.

    But he couldn’t, so he dragged himself out of the ring and into the coralle as he had been taught to do in his life as a rodeo bull. And there his life ended in what people like to call “humane euthanasia”.

    The “rules were followed” they will say.

    Well its time for a new set of rules. Ones that value an animals life and not treat them as a thing of amusement and abuse.”

    Many of the attendees were young children taken by their parents, watching this whilst their parents drank beer and chatted. There is well proven close correlation between animal cruelty and family violence.

    It’s time to move on New Zealand, Rodeo has no association with kiwi farming practice and most farmers would be horrified to watch the many, many videos of systematic cruelty to rodeo animals. The Wairarapa needs to look forwards, this is not the brand we need for our farm products or our sophisticated tourism industry.

  2. Rodeos have been banned in many countries, and it’s easy to see why. While events like bull riding are popular in some rural areas like Wairarapa, the rest of the country (and many rodeo sponsors) find the activities unsavoury.

    Not only are these events cruel to the animals who are forced to participate they instil values which are directly contrary to the spirit of the Animal Welfare Act.

    You’ll impress me more with the size of a pumpkin or tomato you tended to and cultivated, rather than by bullying animals.

    Do we want our children to learn that treating those weaker than us in a cruel, callous and violent way is acceptable?

    Circuses were banned in New Zealand for the same reason. It’s time to put rodeos where they belong, in the past.

  3. I had this impression Martinborough was a sophisticated , progressive little town , guess I was wrong all this time !

    Better to be known for wines and cafe culture than animal abuse .

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