11 Jun 2024

Te Awamutu sisters take on US rodeo competition

6:30 am on 11 June 2024
Riley and Lylah Wood

Riley and Lylah Wood Photo: Shelley Wood

Two Te Awamutu sisters are part of a team of five setting off to the US to compete in the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Riley Wood, 14, and Lylah Wood, 16, have been busy practising and fundraising for the event in Wyoming, next month.

They are competing in the inaugural New Zealand High School Rodeo Team which also includes Amelia Knowles, Will Potts and Sky Sanders.

Lylah said they got interested in rodeo in 2019 and had been in love ever since.

She is competing in the barrel racing, which involves the horse and rider completing a clover lead pattern as fast as they can.

"The fastest I've done is about 16 seconds, then the second event is the breakaway roping which is where we chase an animal and tie a rope on it and then stop, the rope then breaks away."

Lylah said they had to borrow horses in the US so they had been practising on different horses at events around New Zealand.

"It's a really family-orientated event everyone helps each other out - when you win everyone's just really happy for you."

Lylah Wood

Lylah Wood. Photo: Shelley Wood

Younger sister Riley is also competing in barrel racing and team roping which involves a team of two controlling a cow on horseback and then tying the legs.

She was looking forward to seeing what the other teams were like.

Riley Wood at a recent competition.

Riley Wood. Photo: Shelley Wood

"I know it's going to be very competitive.

"I'm looking forward to experiencing the different horses and meeting new people and seeing a whole new side to rodeo because there's so many kids that compete over there."

Riley said The New Zealand High School Rodeo Team had to pay for the trip themselves so they were hosting a fundraiser event in Te Awamutu later in June.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs