The 15th annual Mountain High Broncs and Bulls Rodeo set new records for attendance, and for the number of cowboys competing. Nineteen bronc riders and 13 bull riders competed, along with eight wild horse race teams.
Three present and past World Champion ranch rodeo bronc riders competed. But the winner was Juntura, Oregon, cowpoke and bronc-buster Gabe McKay. He took home a purse of $2,100 for mastering the two horses he rode, with a combined score of 155.5 points.
The next three riders, Cole Biggers of Sweet, Idaho, Caden McCarthy of Bridger, Montana, and Mike McBeth of Prineville, Oregon tied for second, third, and fourth, each with a score of 151 points for two rides, and headed home with more than just gas-money in their pockets—a check for $1160 each.
Riley Warnock of Imnaha was the only local hand. He rode his big black bronc well, but came up short of 8 seconds when the horse headed for and slammed into the fence about 7.4 seconds into his ride. Reigning world champion Chase Thrall of Kermit, Texas, notched a score of 149.5 points on two disappointing rides without much kick. On his last go-round, Thrall fanned his horse with his big 10 (maybe 20)-gallon hat in frustration after the eight-second buzzer sounded. The horse took that seriously, and Thrall had to be helped out of the arena.
The bulls dominated the bull riders. Only one bull rider, Justin Ketzenburg of Yakima, Washington, hung on for the requisite eight seconds. And he did the deed twice, riding both his first go-round bull and the championship round bull with commanding performances.
The “hundred dollars the hard way” event usually attracts a crowd. This year only four contestants were willing to pluck the money—a strip of orange flagging instead of the usual Ben Franklin-under-a-rubber-band—from a rodeo bull’s horn. Two were men. Two were women. The bull did his part by tossing each of the men into the air when they reached for the flagging. The second contestant’s attempt to snatch the prize from the bull’s horn loosened the ribbon. It flew off, landed in the dirt, and was snagged in a dramatic diving catch by one of the women. “Now isn’t that just like life,” the announcer quipped. “Men do the work and the women take the money…..”
All and all it was the best Mountain High Broncs and Bulls yet. You can catch it on The Cowboy Channel, a division of RFD TV, on Direct TV Channel 603, later this year. For schedules and other programs, go to thecowboychannel.com