Thousands of fans packed the Oakdale Saddle Club rodeo grounds for the toughest two days in sports, April 11 and 12, for the 64th annual Oakdale PRCA Rodeo.
Arguably the most popular weekend in the Cowboy Capital of the World for both locals and rodeo enthusiasts nationwide, the event provided entertainment for all ages.
“We love coming here. We look forward to making the trip out here as a family to enjoy the weekend and the bull riding,” said fan Russell Morgan who traveled from Redding with his family to a part of the spectacle.
The two-day extravaganza kicked off on Saturday with Grand Entry at 1:30 p.m., following the morning parade and wrapped up Sunday afternoon with the championship round. Those who attended the rodeo were treated to seven, high drama events from the most dangerous eight seconds in sports – bull riding – to the high speed excitement of barrel racing. Also contributing to the annual rodeo was special act Bobby Kerr and his wild mustangs, who were a real crowd pleaser. Kerr, the founder of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, brought along former wild mustang Poncho to Oakdale and performed both days. Kerr entered the Mustang Makeover contest in 2011, where he and Poncho placed fourth and were named Fan Favorite. This contest challenges you to bring in a mustang from the wild, tame and train him in 120 days. Kerr won the event in 2013 and was featured on Good Morning America recently.
“It’s a real honor to be a part of the Oakdale Rodeo. The audience was very kind and we (Poncho and I) truly appreciate being a part of it,” Kerr said.
In his act, he and Poncho did various tricks including having Poncho sit in the car that he brought out. Also on hand for some entertainment was rodeo clown Justin Rumford, who kept up a steady banter with announcer Jody Carper in between events and offered some offbeat commentary throughout the two days of competition, spending most of that time in the arena as events went on around him.
Following are the results in the various events, as provided by the PRCA.
Zack Oakes of Tonasket, Washington made the whistle and got the crowd on their collective feet with his 87 point ride on Wild Eyes, to earn him top honors in the event. Oakes earned a purse of $3,581 for his efforts. Gardnerville, Nevada resident Sterling Ward claimed second place with his ride on Two Buck Chuck for a score of 84. Third place was a two way tie between Dakota Louis of Browning, Montana and Thatcher, Utah’s Tag Elliot who both earned a respectable 81. Kurtis Turner from Washington, Utah failed to crack the top five, but did have a 75 point ride on Saturday. The 21-year-old made his Oakdale Rodeo debut.
“I made the trip out here from Utah to ride Mojito for the folks in Oakdale. It is a famous rodeo and I enjoyed my time here,” said Turner on Saturday. Oakdale native Bo Bacigalupi failed to make the eight second whistle after being bucked off Black Cat.
Two cowboys took top honors as Red Bluff, California resident Zack Brown and George R. Gillespie both scored a weekend high 82 points. The duo walked out of the arena with a $1,863 purse apiece. Anthony Thomas, an Australian native, placed third with his impressive 80 point ride on Black Magic.
The fans witnessed an arena record when Del Ray Kraupie of Bridgeport, Nebraska successfully completed a 3.7 second time in the second round of the competition. Kraupie earned $1,527 over the weekend for his overall second place showing. Taking first place honors and an $1845 prize was Clayton Hass of Terrell, Texas.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Like the bareback riding, ties between two riders saw a pair of competitors on top of the leader board at the conclusion of the rodeo. Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alabama and Jake Wright of Milford, Utah each scored 80 points over the weekend and each earned $1,923 in prize money for the event.
Two ladies earned a share of first place when Christine Laughlin of Pueblo, Colorado and Carley Richardson of Pampa, Texas both rounded the barrels with a 17.43 second time. Both were awarded $2,544 for their efforts. Just missing a share of first place was southern California native, Ann Scott who finished with a 17.44 second effort.
The duo of Coleman Proctor of Pryor, Oklahoma and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas took first place with an aggregate time of 14.1, earning both a total of $2,492. Second place honors went to Dylan Gordon and gage Williams, both from Oklahoma, with a 16.0 aggregate and a purse of $2,167 each.
Tie Down Roping
First place honors went to both Rhen Richard of Roosevelt, Utah and Cade Swor of Winnie, Texas, each recording an aggregate score of 15.9 and taking home $1,580. Oakdale native Ryle Smith placed third in Saturday’s go round with a time of 7.7 and earned $656 on the weekend. Former area resident Russell Cardoza, now living in Terrebonne, Oregon, was third overall with his 16.1 aggregate time. He earned $1,132 for the event.
Claiming the rodeo’s top honor – All-Around Cowboy – was Rhen Richard, who was also in the money for the Team Roping. He and partner Cole Davison of Stephenville, Texas picked up $866 apiece for their sixth place showing with a 17.5 aggregate score in the team event. As the top overall performer for the weekend, Richard took home $4,466 for that honor.