By Toni Williams
Rakaia rodeo rider Adam Williams is looking for a win at the Methven Rodeo this weekend.
The specialty bareback bronc rider is hitting the whole upcoming rodeo circuit with the title firmly in his sights.
He has come close in the past few years, each year inching closer, and this year it’s his chance.
First up is the Winchester Rodeo, followed the next day by Williams’ local – the Methven Rodeo; both over Labour Weekend. It’s then full-on after Christmas until March and the New Zealand Final.
Methven Rodeo has a multitude of talented athletes from around the country involved, including others from Mid Canterbury.
All the favourites of bull riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing, steer wrestling and team roping will be hotly contested, along with Williams’ specialty, bareback bronc riding.
Williams, 27, has been a New Zealand representative competing in Australia, off and on, since 2015.
He competed at the Sydney Royal Show and the Australian International Invitational Event.
And has just returned from Canada, where he spent two months, riding five rodeos a week, in three amateur associations.
Competing in Australia was another level, but Canada was the pinnacle, he said.
This year he was a New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association NFR 2018 season bareback finalist, which is a testament to his dedication, having only started seven years ago.
A Rakaia mechanic by day, Williams started rodeo after the chance came up when doing his pre-trade mechanics course.
A fellow student’s brothers were into the rodeo circuit; one was a national bull riding champion and the other a bull fighter.
“It’s something I always sort of wanted to do. Growing up my parents took me to watch the Methven Rodeo as a kid, for many years, and it was something I had an interest in.”
Bareback is a style Williams was quick to pick up, after bull riding for a year.
He then switched to broncs before conquering the bareback style.
“Barebacks’ probably one of the most physical events, or the physical event in rodeo.
“A lot of people call it a bit of a boxing match, just because your hand is strapped in there and you can’t get your hand out,” he said.
Williams, in the past, raced moto X and played rugby, but still goes fishing and hunting.
He uses gym work, and hunting on hills, as part of his winter training session to keep fit.
This year, money from the gate and bar takings will go towards raising money for those working towards suicide prevention in rural communities.
It’s a cause Methven Rodeo members feel strongly about given recent tough times in agriculture for farmers and their families.
For Williams this cause hits home and has added extra meaning to his riding.
He lost his best friend to suicide late last year and didn’t think he would rodeo this year.
But with the support of the close knit rodeo family – and the ongoing support of his employers Murray and Sally Smith – “the best bosses you could ask for” – he did.
And he now has his eye on the title. The Methven Rodeo is on Sunday, gates open from 9.30am.