This is rodeo without fanfare that brings ranch families together and offers friendly competition between ranch teams. This year, 13 ranches were represented, including Yost Quarter Horses, Intermountain Livestock, Smiling M Ranch, J Arrow Livestock, Morgan family cattle, Sliding M Ranch, Quail Run Ranch, and Callin’ the Schotts.
Team-based competitions included Team Sorting, Team Doctoring, Team Branding, and Pasture Roping. And there was also bronc riding, ladies steer-stopping, and the always popular stick horse races for kids, with two classes: ages 2-4 and ages 5-7. There’s not much competition in these two events. Just loping your stick horse across the finish line is a win for most of the young participants
This year’s rodeo featured modified rules that enlivened the event, and also made things run more smoothly. For example, the Team Branding event allowed each team of three buckaroos to include a fourth person from another ranch’s team. That person could only work the ground—helping with moving ropes on the roped calf, or brand the calf. The “branding” was done with a tennis ball dipped into water-soluble yellow paint.
In the team events, 5 S Ranch won first in points for all events, Smiling M Ranch came in second, Quail Run Ranch took third, and Sliding M Ranch, with buckaroo wunderkind Hadley Miller and bronc buster Rylie Warnock slid into fourth place.
The horses for the bucking horse competition were supplied by Kurtis Koeppen of Challis Idaho. He brought some good horses that seemed to bide their time — for a second or two out of the chute — perhaps to give their rider a false sense of security — before cutting loose with some truly rank moves. Each of the seven bronc riders had the chance to rid two go rounds for a combined score. First prize went to Vade Arnzen who hales from the Cottonwood, Idaho area. Arnzen scored an 80 point ride on his first bronc and a 76 on his second to take the top check of around $400. Robbie DeVore from LaGrande took second and Drew Johnson claimed third.
Rodeo participants vote for the top hand and best cowgirl. This year Erik Steen of 5 S Ranch got the nod—and the engraved spurs — for Top Hand, while Megan Cobb rode off with the spurs and plaudits for Best Cowgirl.
Perhaps the real winners of the afternoon were the scholarship recipients”
Emma Hite of Joseph, Deidre Schreiber of Enterprise, and Rylee Goller of Wallowa. Scholarship awards are one of the major goals of this rodeo. This year they went to a stellar group of young women.