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Reality Rodeo Show Is A Bucking Good Ride!

Wednesday July 12 2006

Reality Rodeo Show Is A Bucking Good Ride!

Saddle up for the ride of a lifetime with RODEO KAUPOAI, Maori Television’s new reality show, which follows the fortunes of five rodeo families from New Zealand’s East Coast (premieres Monday July 17 at 10.00 PM).

These are the real-life cowboys and cowgirls of the hardcore rodeo circuit, who risk their necks every time they wrestle a raging bull, rope a kicking calf or ride a bucking bronco in the ring.

But the passion for the sport is in their blood, and has been for as long as four generations in some whanau. Broken bones and bloodshed are nothing to these rodeo riders, who are as tough as old cowboy boots. They live it and breathe it, from dawn to dusk.

In RODEO KAUPOAI, the cameras of production company Butobase follow five families from the East Coast – the homeland of New Zealand rodeo - as they take to the road for the summer season, and travel to competitions around the country.

Meet the men of the Church family as they face the toughest season of their careers. Considered to be royalty of rodeo in Aotearoa, father Merv has won Cowboy of the Year 15 times and eldest son Dion has equalled that score.

This season, Dion wants to beat his dad’s record, but he’s facing a challenge from his three talented brothers. Brothers becoming rivals as the competition reaches boiling point. “You can’t be a sissy in rodeo,” says Dion’s brother Daryl. “So you’ve got broken ribs? So what? You’ve got 10 seconds to stay on the horse and that’s not long to put up with the pain. Get on and do it.”

There’s also ex-NPC halfback Raymond Mason, who gave up rugby for the ring so he could spend more time with his kids. The dad-of-three now tackles 300kg-plus bulls, with his whanau watching from the ringside and cheering him on.

“I’d rather face bulls than men,” says Raymond. “When I made it to NPC, I was struggling to juggle family with rugby commitments. With rodeo, I can do something that involves all my family. We just pile in the van and go.”

At the other end of the scale from burly Raymond, there’s tiny five-year-old Ariana Halley. She’s been taking part in rodeo since she could walk and thinks nothing of racing around on an out-of-control pony.

Her dream is to win against the older kids in her rodeo class, even though she usually ends up falling off. “I always come last,” she says. “But I really like it, so I just keep trying.”

Join the real-life cowboys and cowgirls of RODEO KAUPOAI for a wildest ride in New Zealand, starting on Monday July 17 at 10.00 PM.


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