Competitors were there for the glory – and the coveted belt buckles – as they met for the National Day of the American Cowboy at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds on Saturday.
The July 23 event was presented by the Oakdale Saddle Club and the Oakdale Cowboy Museum and was designed to showcase the sport of rodeo and the men and women who keep the cowboy lifestyle alive.
There were also special events for kids, with dummy roping and stick horse races, and the San Joaquin/Stanislaus Cattlewomen served up food and beverages out of the Cook Shack on site.
This was the 12th annual National Day of the Cowboy observance and the ‘Cowboy Capital’ lived up to its name with branding, trailer loading, sort and rope doctoring and team roping among the events.
“We saw some things we can improve on,” noted arena announcer for the day, Bobbie Telles of Farmington. “We hope we can make it bigger and better next year.”
There was $3,700 in prize money to be distributed, along with belt buckles and a special custom made bit presented for the ‘Top Hand’ – the overall points winner.
In the Men’s Division, the top team was 34 ½ Cattle Co with team members JW Brewen, Don McCaslan, Joe Clarot and Brian Huntsberger. Women’s Division winner was Rafter Spade with team members Lacy Bourdet, Stacey Schmidt, Taylor Hurley and Kasey Hurley. Top Hand was Jessica Cardon, a member of Team ½ N ½.
Oakdale Saddle Club member Scott Heiny said several members helped put on the event and officials were pleased with the level of competition.
Among those helping to keep events running smoothly in the arena was Jeff Bridgewater of Jamestown.
“I’m originally from Oakdale,” he said. “I am a member of the Saddle Club and I’m just doing my part.”
He also said ranching is how he makes his living and many of the skills demonstrated in the arena on Saturday are part of the daily routine for many working cowboys.
Getting an early start, three-year-old Royce Musick won the dummy roping event for kids and was thoroughly enjoying watching all the events unfold in the arena.
Organizers said they want to see more people turn out to watch the events, as they give a good representation of the cowboy life.
Telles, in thanking the participants and the audience, congratulated all that competed and noted that it should be called the National Day of the “American Cowboy and Cowgirl, ‘cause the girls did good, too.”
Helping present the awards following the competition inside the Rodeo Grounds Clubhouse was Dan Dooley, a 45-year member of the Oakdale Saddle Club.