ENTERPRISE – Much of Wallowa County’s ranching community came together Saturday during a day’s worth of activities hosted by the Wallowa County Stockgrowers Association.

Sandwiched in between a breakfast meeting and a dinner/dance in the evening, was the Stockgrowers’ Ranch Rodeo and World Champion Rock Jack Contest, which started at noon at the fairgrounds.

This event was conceived and inaugurated four years ago not just for fun, but as a chance for working cowboys and cowgirls to show what they do in their every day lives on the ranch.

New champions emerged in the featured rock jack contest, when the team of Doug Peterson and Matt Proffit – two young hands employed by the Flying J Ranch – was declared the winner by the judges based on the quality of their product. Actually the champs were third to finish their rock jack, splitting a log and building the fence anchor from scratch in 11 minutes and one second. They tied for first in points with the speedy team of Todd Nash and BJ Warnock, who were done in 6 minutes and 54, and placed second in quality.

“In this contest, quality trumps speed,” said announcer Jeff Parker in declaring Peterson and Proffit the winners. The two men said they’d built plenty of fence and rock jacks, but had never competed in the contest before. “We’ve never even seen it before,” Peterson said.

Todd Nash, outgoing president of the Stockgrowers (Scott Shear is new president), stepped into the contest when BJ’s father, Dan, hurt his back after a horse accident Thursday on their Imnaha ranch. “I’m good at splitting, but BJ did most of the construction,” said Nash.

BJ’s mother, Stockgrowers secretary Cynthia Warnock, became the first woman contestant in the contest. She and son/teammate Tyrel were the second fastest, with a time of 8:50. Other teams were Steve Imoos and Stan Cannon, 16:08; and Mark Ramsden and son Zed (his real age wasn’t disclosed, but he was the youngest rock jack builder ever to compete).

Tom Butterfield, Doug Tippett and Dave Parker were rock jack contest judges.

“I thought everyone did a great job, and it was wonderful to see families and co-workers out there showcasing their skills in a real-world situation,” said Pat Dougherty, chairman of the event and the rock jack champ of 2010.

As of now, Wallowa County hosts the only rock jack contest in the world (as far as is known), but Dougherty said some interest has been expressed in possibly holding a contest in nearby Asotin, Wash. “I don’t know if anything will come of it,” he said.

There were much more competition at the ranch rodeo, with competitors riding, roping and event milking sheep.

Following are the winners of these jackpot rodeo events:

Working Horse – 1st, Fred Steen; 2nd, Dave Yost.

Muley Roping – 1st, Fred Steen and Anna Yost; 2nd, Joe Panode and Joley Panode; 3rd, Oda Grandy and Dave Yost.

Sorting – 1st, Janie McCormack, Jamie McCormack and Debbie Wentz; 2nd, Dave Yost, Jim Hite and Odo Grandy.

Youth Sorting (18 and under) – 1st, Tyrell Warnock, Wyatt Warnock and BJ Warnock; 2nd, Rylie Warnock, Zyler Hermens and Cutter Nash.

Branding – 1st, Beau Botts, Ryan Raymond and Clint Shaffer; 2nd, Dave Yost, Odo Grandy and Jim Hite.

Working Dog – 1st, Mason Winebarger; 2nd, Dave Yost.

Steer Stopping – 1st, Anna Yost; 2nd, Deanne Shear.

Half Trot/Half Run Race – 1st, Scott Shear.

One Lap Race – 1st, Lisa Morgan.

Wild Ewe Milking (7-12 years old) – 1st, Sonora Blair and Belle Blair.

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