For more than six decades, the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo has proven to be the top destination for rodeo goers and competitors alike. Two days of bull riding, barrel racing, roping and beers were enough to keep the large crowd of rodeo fanatics cheering, even during the downpour of rain on Saturday. Fans from around the globe packed the grandstands at the Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9 for bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping action. Local stars as well as champions from around the world competed in the mud and rain Saturday, with the sun breaking through on Sunday, battling to earn top dollar and buckles in the annual event.
When the mud had settled and all the events were wrapped up, it was Canadian Kyle Lucas taking the All-Around Title, parlaying his efforts in team roping and tie down roping into a $2,445 payout for his weekend of work. Lucas tied for sixth in average in the team roping with partner Kolton Schmidt and then did solid work in the tie down roping competition, fourth place in the first round, tied for second in the second round and taking second in average.
Bull riding is known as the most extreme eight seconds in all of sports and for the few who made the whistle it proved to be a big payout. Sixty-one bull riding hopefuls braved the unknown upon entering the chute. Bryce Barrios of Bluff Dale, Texas drew the bull Speculation and held on for the required eight seconds and scored 83 points for his efforts. Barrios’ ride edged out Saturday’s leaders Dalan Duncan and Kurtis Turner’s 82 point ride. After Sunday’s final event, Barrios’ 83 earned him $3,158; first place and the A.L. Gilbert Company buckle. Duncan and Turner finished second and took home $2,106 each. Jeremy Kolich of Norco, California took fourth place with an 81 point ride.
On Saturday rodeo fans were treated to a new arena record when Steven Peebles rode Four Star Rodeo’s Big Star for an 87.5-point ride in the bareback riding competition. Peebles hails from Redmond, Oregon. His record setting performance earned him $1,884 and the Western Drywall Buckle. Prior to Peebles’ historic ride, Minden, Nevada’s Wyatt Denny sat on top of the standings with a crowd pleasing 86 point ride on Night Life. Denny placed second in the event. On Sunday, Kaycee Feild of Spanish Fork, Utah finished third in the event with an 85.5 ride.
The powerhouses of the rodeo were on display as 20 steer wrestlers competed for The Burtschi Family Buckle, in memory of Henry and Lena Burtschi. Earning the top spot for the first round was Tyler Pearson of Louisville, Mississippi with a time of 6.2 seconds and earned $1,074. Tying for second in the first round were Sterling Lambert and Billy Bugenig at 6.3 seconds; they took home $671 each. In second round action Sunday, Sterling Lambert took first at 4.1 seconds and also finished with the top spot in the average with a time of 10.4 seconds. Lambert brought a total of $3,356 back home with him.
The ladies of the rodeo had their turn in the two day event in the popular barrel racing competition. Rachel Dice turned and burned her way to a first place finish with a speedy 18.34 second run in the mud to take home the Chicken Ranch Bingo and Casino buckle. Cathey Vallerga placed second at 18.64 seconds. Oakdale’s Shelby Stansbury placed seventh at 18.91 on Sunday.
Leon Fountain of Socorro, New Mexico rode Starbucks for the eight seconds on Saturday for an 82 point ride. Fountain placed first in the saddle bronc riding and collected $2,064 and took home the Bank of the West buckle. Hardy Braden of Welch, Oklahoma made the whistle and finished second with an 81.5 ride. World Champion Taos Muncy saddled up on Sunday and placed third with an 81 point ride.
Team roping first round honors were shared as two teams tied for first place. Cody Mora and Jason Johe along with Mike Pivetti and Kim Gillespie each blazed their way to an impressive 6.9 second finish. Each team earned $1,487 in the California Team Roping Association competition. Mora and Johe took first place in the average as well at 17.1 seconds. Second round action saw the duo of Chad Masters and Travis Graves take first on Sunday at 6.4 seconds and rake in $1,628 each. Oakdale’s Wyatt Hansen competed on Sunday with partner Blake Teixeira and placed sixth with a time of 9.3 seconds.
In tie-down roping it was Clint Nyegaard taking first place with a speedy time of 8.6 seconds and he also finished on top in the average at 18.5 seconds. Timber Moore earned second place with a time of 8.9 seconds. Oakdale’s Wyatt Hansen competed in the event on Sunday but was not in the top ten.
A total payout of $99,636 went to those who placed in the top eight to ten, depending on the event.
Specialty Act - Tomas Garcilazo of Mexico City, Mexico took center stage inside the arena on both Saturday and Sunday. Garcilazo along with his horse performed the art of Mexican Charro, which are rope tricks. Garcilazo captivated the large crowds both days with his fancy rope work and riding style.
Crew - Returning to the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo was the voice of the event for the past several years, fan favorite Jody Carper. Carper has been announcing PRCA rodeo since earning his announcers card in 2005. Feeding off Carper down in the center of all the action was the PRCA clown/barrelman Clint “Wolfey” Selvester. He has entertained fans since 1998 and this year made his fourth appearance for the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo. The Red Bluff native held nothing back this year as he went into the grandstands, and interacted with the crowd. On Saturday, Selvester competed in a three legged race with fans, and at the end of the event, the funny man belly flopped into the biggest puddle in the arena. On Sunday, though skies were sunny, plenty of mud still filled the arena and he engaged in a ‘mudball’ throwing match with some youngsters that dared come near the fence.
Meanwhile, helping keep competitors safe in the arena were two of the bravest men at the event, champion bullfighters Rick Moffatt and Chance Jackson. The duo has teamed together for years and are local favorites. Moffatt is a native of and lives in Oakdale, while Jackson lives in Coalinga.