Loyal fans from across the United States gathered under their umbrellas and EZ Ups, bundled up in ponchos and hats and made their way to the 65th annual PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo. The weekend extravaganza saw plenty of rain and mud but did not keep the excited crowd away.
“It could be hailing and we would not miss this,” said fan Anthony Maddson of Atwater.
Once the veteran PRCA announcer Jody Carper spoke his first words of the day to open the two formal days of competition on Saturday, the crowd became electric and settled in for a few exciting hours of rodeo action each day. Down on the arena floor up close to the action were Oakdale’s resident bullfighter Rick Moffatt and his partner Cody Jackson, helping keep the competitors safe after being thrown by the bull or completing the required 8-second ride. The duo has been a staple of the rodeo weekend for years and the brave bullfighters are always a fan favorite. Making his return to the arena was clown and barrel man Clint ‘Wolfey’ Selvester. Complete with his oversized hat and face paint, Selvester had the fans laughing and literally singing in the rain, as he and the crowd sang the Garth Brooks classic ‘Friends in Low Places’ during Saturday’s downpour.
On Sunday, Selvester managed to challenge an audience member to a ‘best belly flop’ contest into a large puddle but – after both got a running start – Selvester stopped short of flopping in to the mud puddle, standing by to watch as the audience member fell hook, line and sinker for the ruse.
For the second consecutive year, Rhen Richard claimed the title of All-Around Cowboy with his total earnings of $3,206 in the tie-down and team roping. The Roosevelt, Utah resident took first place in the tie-down roping with an 8.1 second average finish.
Chalk up a win for the bulls in the muddy conditions, as only seven total bull riders made the horn with a successful eight second ride. Taking first place was Kurtis Turner who rode Four Star Rodeo’s Maestro for an 84-point ride. Turner earned a hefty $3,046 paycheck for his efforts. Oakdale’s own Dylan Vick got the crowd on their feet with his sixth place finish with a 74 point ride on Saturday. Vick earned $508 for his efforts.
The women of the rodeo brought the crowd to their feet as well with exciting barrel racing action. Morgan Breaux and her horse blitzed through the course in 17.58 seconds to take first place, bringing home $2,497. A heartbreaking second place finish went to Katie Pascoe, who finished a mere tenth of a second behind Breaux at 17.59.
Ben Londo’s 82 point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Tuxedo Kate earned him a first place finish in the saddle bronc riding. Londo’s first place finish made him $2,132 richer. Finishing second was Saturday’s leader CoBurn Bradshaw, who held on for a 78 point ride.
Tucker Zingg made the most of his time at the rodeo with a first place finish in bareback riding. Zingg turned in an 84 point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Virgil. Zingg made $2,064 in prize money. Tyler Scales finished two points behind Zingg for second place with an 82-point ride.
The speedy Tyler Waguespack embraced the mud and puddles to claim first place in the steer wrestling with a 4.3 second finish, earning $1,044 for less than five seconds of work. Tom Lewis took second place, just two-tenths of a second off.
The teams of Kesley Phillips with Clint Harry and Clay Smith with Paul Eaves took first place in the first round of the team roping. Each team finished in 6.7 seconds, as each team took home $1,722. Second round first place went to the team of Blaine Linaweaver and Jake Twissleman, also finishing with 6.7 seconds. The duo took home $1,885 each.