Rodeo fans from far and near were treated to a wild, action packed weekend as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) came to town for the 63rd Annual Oakdale Rodeo presented by the Oakdale Saddle Club.
The two-day extravaganza of competition kicked off Saturday afternoon, April 12 as sponsors were honored with plaques for their contributions to the event. Immediately following was a flyover from U.S. military planes as they soared over thousands of rodeo fans and the arena. With the sounds of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” playing, skydiver Kent Lane leaped from a plane in the clear blue sky above and glided downward while holding the American flag, landing expertly in the center of the arena as the song ended. The patriotic act set up the playing of the National Anthem and rodeo fans were ready for some action.
Taking home the All-Around title and coveted championship buckle was Dakota Eldridge of Elko, Nevada as he finished in the money in both steer wrestling and tie down roping.
Following is a recap of the events, which were staged over two days of competition at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds.
BULL RIDING: The crew didn’t waste any time as bulls were loaded into the chutes and the much anticipated first round of bull riding was under way. With 30 of the toughest men on the planet attempting to hang on for the most dangerous eight seconds in sports, all tried to make the final whistle. Lockeford, California’s Clayton Brum rode his way to the leaderboard after day one as he rode the massive Rackem Up for a score of 80 points. He was followed by Garden Valley, Idaho’s Jed Jones who rode Soda Pop for an impressive score of 75 to take second during the first half of bull riding action. Later in the day Oakdale’s own Bo Bacigalupi held on for the whistle and earned himself third place overall with a score of 76 taking home a total of $1,774. Sunday saw the leaderboard change as Dustin Bowen took the lead and eventually first place as he rode Holy Slinger, worth a score of 84 points.
STEER WRESTLING: Rhett Kennedy set the standard as he was quick to wrap up his steer in 4.7 seconds while taking home $1,054 and he also set the average on day two. Day one Jared Hare took first place as his quickness paid off with a time of 5.1 seconds as he took home $1,054.
TEAM ROPING: The impressive team of Brock Hanson and Cesar de la Cruz each took home $1,721 for their efforts as they set the time of 4.7 seconds. Just shy of first place came the duo of Brady Tryan and Tommy Zuniga just two tenths of a second behind with 4.9. The pair walked away with $1,425. Two teams tied for third/fourth as Mike Christensen and Jared Hixon, Spenser Mitchell and Russell Cardoza each ran a time of 5.0 seconds and all four competitors took home $979 each.
SADDLE BRONC RIDING: Two time world champion (2007, 2011) Corona, New Mexico’s Taos Muncy took the arena by storm on Saturday and when it was all said and done, he won with his 86 point ride on the horse they call Last Call. Muncy took home $2,245. Tyrel Larsen placed second as he rode Flood Light on Saturday afternoon to the final whistle and his 81 point ride earned him $1,721. Two riders came home with $1,048 each in prize money as Kaleb Asay and Jessie Bail each scored 80 points. Bail is a 12-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in saddle bronc, bull riding and steer wrestling.
BAREBACK RIDING: Newcomer Tim O’Connell, who joined the PRCA in 2013, took first place with a thrilling ride on Gold Coast that scored him 86 points on Saturday afternoon. O’Connell earned $2,042 in prize money. Clint Laye fell just one point short of tying O’Connell with an 85 point effort on Sunday afternoon when he rode Little Bit earning $1,565. Casey Breuer earned $1,157 for his third place finish. Breuer, who rode Saturday afternoon, held on while riding Winter Hawk for a score of 83.
BARREL RACING: The ladies were out in full force over the weekend as well. Rachel Primm took first place as she raced throughout the arena in 17.58 seconds earning her top honors. Primm took home $2,412 in prize money. Brittany Pozzi took second as she turned and burned her way to a 17.60 run earning $2,050. Cottonwood, California’s Nellie Miller earned $1,688 for her third place efforts with a time of 17.63.
TIE-DOWN ROPING: 19-time world champion, Trevor Brazile set the average time with 8.4 seconds earning himself $1,542 and also took second place in the second round. Cimarron Boardman took first place with 8.0 seconds, earning $1,028.
NOTABLE EVENTS: The legendary John Payne or “The One Armed Bandit” as he is known in the PRCA world, put on a show both days that left the crowd breathless, and on its collective feet. Payne, who lost his arm in a freak electrical accident, gathered up three African Watusi Longhorns and herded them up onto a ramp and the longhorns made their way on top of Payne’s travel trailer. Payne’s act is the 12-time PRCA Act of the Year…Funny man Clint “Wolfey” Sylvester was inside the barrel and all over the arena for his rodeo clown antics, including Sunday where he cut his long locks for charity during “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” day in honor of breast cancer awareness. “Things go from fun to serious in a hurry in the barrel. I’m fortunate to have tough guys like Rick Moffatt and Chance Jackson who have my back every time,” Sylvester shared of being in the arena with the professional bullfighters.