|6/4/2013 1:57:00 PM|
Best in the world headed to Rodeo
Some of the best cowboys in the sport of rodeo vie for a title this week at Sisters Rodeo. With the rodeo early in the season, the top of the heap in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) competitors will attempt to boost their ratings at the weekend's highest-payout rodeo in the nation.
World champions will be at Sisters Rodeo to garner points toward another round at Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, along with many competitors for whom Sisters has been a lucky charm.
Forty bull riders kick off the week at the Xtreme Bulls competition Wednesday evening, with many contenders in the top 20. In a night of non-stop adrenalin rush, the bull-riding competition brings back Shane Proctor, the 2012 Sisters buckle winner, who also broke a 19-year-old arena record last year with a 91-point ride. He'll be challenged by Steve Woolsey, a former Sisters buckle winner, and a cadre of young, promising bull riders. Many of them will get a second chance during the weekend rodeo.
In saddlebronc, the top seven cowboys in the current world standings will ride, along with 2012 tie buckle winners, Tyrell Smith and Bradley Harter. Currently, Cody Wright holds first place, while his brother, Jesse - a world champion - sits comfortably at fourth place. Tyler Corrington, Cort Scherrer, and Brad Rudolf will try to improve their standings in the top seven.
The bareback competition promises thrills of its own. J.R. Vezain will try to hold his #1 spot, while Central Oregon's Bobby Mote, four-time world champion, shoots for a big score. Another Central Oregon cowboy, Austin Foss, holds a strong fifth place in world standings, and Ryan Gray, another Sisters bareback winner, hopes to boost his eighth-place national standing. Brian Bain, a Culver cowboy, won this Sisters buckle last year, so he's a sure threat.
Over the past eight years, Central Oregon has produced some of the best cowboys in the PRCA. Steve Peebles, another Redmond cowboy, scored 90 points in bareback in 2010 at Ellensberg, Washington, breaking an arena record. With four national finals rodeo qualifications, he is craving his first Sisters buckle.
Jason Havens of Prineville, a five-time bareback national finalist, suffered a broken neck in a Canadian rodeo in May, which takes him out of the competition. True to rodeo cowboy philosophy, Havens said, "If you push the limits, sometimes the limits push back." He's expected to return to the sport he loves.
Luke Branquino, three-time world champion steer wrestler, took the record for rounds won at National Finals Rodeo with his 2011 scores. He is in second place in current world standing, and has tough local competition in Sean Santucci, Redmond, who took home the Sisters buckle last year. This field includes top 20 Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Oregon, and Casey McMillen, Redmond.
Redmond's Michael Reger hopes for another buckle from Sisters, after winning steer wrestling in 2009. Alex Robinson, who is hosting the Bulldog Jackpot on Wednesday at noon at Sisters Rodeo grounds, is also a local entry, along with Christian Radebaugh. (The jackpot is a free spectator event.)
The team roping competition has a wide-open field. Watch for Brandon Beers, who won this event in a tie last year. His partner at Sisters is Justin Davis of California. Bend's Dave Inman will be roping with John O'Conner of Mountain Home, Oregon.
Shane Erickson of Terrebonne is a must-watch in tie-down roping. Erickson won the all-around buckle at Sisters last year, the two-event combination that puts cowboys in the all-around earnings competition.
Erickson won National Circuit Finals Rodeo this year in Oklahoma City, and also took home that national all-around buckle, competing in team roping and tie-down roping.
But he's up against Ryle Smith, the Sisters 2012 tie-down buckle winner, and Chad Findley, another local challenger. Trevor Knowles is a cowboy to watch in this event, while he sets his sights on the all-around award with a legacy of nine trips to National Finals Rodeo.
A crowd favorite, barrel racing will see the return of 2012 Sisters buckle winner Jody Sheffield along with local celebrity Brenda Mays, who took home the highly coveted National Finals Rodeo average points award in 2012. Multiple world champion Lindsay Sears will charge the barrels as nine other Central Oregon barrel racers ride for the Sisters title in a total of 87 entries.
With the volume of barrel racers, it's a good year for these fans to get to slack on Thursday, June 6, beginning at 8 a.m.
Sisters has over four hundred entries in Xtreme Bulls and the rodeo. Slack competition on Thursday (free to the public) will see competition from 48 tie-down ropers, 82 steer wrestlers and 39 barrel racers.
Non-PRCA team bronc riding storms out of the chutes as the first event, with three-man teams attempting to saddle and ride an unbroken horse. Sixteen-time world champion Jason Smith leads one of the three-man teams. Spud Smith and Butch David, other officers of this organization, will also compete. In a thunderous roar of the crowd, and a melee of action, team bronc ride sets the pace.
Percheron Thunder, the lauded Roman riding act, will perform at all five events. The rodeo strongly recommends advance ticket purchases.
Sisters Rodeo has five performances on June 5 and 7-9. For tickets and information, call the ticket hotline at 541-549-0121 or 1-800-827-7522, or visit the ticket office, 220 W. Cascade Ave. in Sisters. For information, visit www.sistersrodeo.com.
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