Attendance was down but both money and spirits were high at the Stockgrowers Ranch Rodeo Saturday in Enterprise.
A new competition and changes to the rules of an old competition livened the day. The new event was the kid’s sheep mugging competition, in which a wild sheep was wrestled to a standstill by one member of the team and then mounted and ridden for five seconds by a second member of the team. Winners were Katie and Isaac Hoffman, ages 10 and 12 respectively, of Enterprise.
Talk about wild and wooly.
Organizers also mixed it up in the World Champion Rock Jack Building Contest, requiring a man-and-woman teams this year. Last year’s champion, Tom Birkmaier of Chesnimnus put in a good showing with wife, Kelly, but it was the unlikely duo of Cynthia Warnock of Imnaha and Mark Ramsden of Wallowa that took the prize. Warnock and Ramsden threw their lot together when their respective mates backed out of the event and built a rock jack in less than 15 minutes. The team took home a special trophy designed by Cassie Tippett and split a check for $500 donated by Thompson Auto Supply of Enterprise.
Tom Birkmaier announced that next year the rock jack teams could be a partnership between an over-50 competitor and a younger guy. Whatever organizers decide, it’s going to be a real horse-race.
The All Around Cowgirl belt buckle, donated by Diane Dagget, broker at Wallowa Mountain Properties in Enterprise, went to Anna Grandi (daughter of Dave Yost) of New Plymouth, Idaho.
The All Around Cowboy belt buckle, donated by Bennet Insurance of Enterprise, went to Cody Ross of Joseph
Dan Probert of Enterprise and his 4-year-old quarter horse mare, “Buggsy,” won the buckle, sponsored by Leonard Post of Wallowa, and $250 in the Ranch Horse competition.
Team Branding turned out to be a nail-biter as teams of four took turns at heading and heeling two calves and “branding” them with a paint brand. Grain Growers and Triple Creek Ranch sponsored some nice buckles for the winners.
Experienced cowboys Mark Dawson of Joseph and Barry Quallie of Enterprise put in a right snappy first round with younger teammates Paul Rogers of Ellensburg, Wash., and Clancy Warnock of Imnaha doing the groundwork and looked like they were headed for the win. But when the younger men took their turn at the heading and heeling they were unable to keep the lead.
In the end it was another combo team of seasoned and young that took the top award with the Dan Probert, Dave Yost, Cody Ross and Josh Pressure team bringing home the win and splitting $280.
The Team Steer Sorting class was packed with good teams and exciting action, and for a time it looked like the youngster team of Lute Ramsden, Chloe Birkmaier and Kelly Birkmaier might take it with three steers in the pattern sorted within the 2-minute time. Up until that time, nobody had managed to sort their cattle in order. But then the Odo Grandi, Anna Grandi and Collin Cunningham team rode in and sorted out 10 steers like it was clockwork to take the win and $514.
The champion Ladies Steer Stopper was Adele Nash on her big red roan quarter horse mare, “Fly.” making it look easy with a time of 10.3. She took home $84.
Six contestants brought their dogs to vie for the Top Dog slot in the working dog class and the Top Dog turned out to be two dogs. Cody Ross’ Bear and Bee took the buckle and won Ross $168. Jill (McClaran) Zacharias’ Allie and Skeeter came in second.
Two horse races blazed past the stands with Mark Dawson winning the trot/run and $94.50. He tried again in the flat race, but Rya Fluite of Joseph outran Dawson and seized the $84 prize. Beth McClaran made handmade halters for the winners to go with their prize money.
George Kohlhepp looked like he was about to bring back the ranch bronc riding when his horse, “Reba,” decided to work some kinks out while Kohlhepp was trying to be a flagger on timed events — but Kohlhepp won that round.
Fred Steen of Enterprise was not so lucky. His horse, “Ted,” slipped while chasing a calf in the Muley Roping and went down on Steen’s ankle, putting him out of the rodeo for the rest of the day with a severe sprain.
The Dave Yost and Cody Ross team took the win on Muley Roping, and got some custom belts from Elsa Steen of Joseph and split $280.