About 20 kids from around the county participated in the second annual Wallowa County Junior Rodeo at Harley Tucker Memorial Arena in Joseph on Saturday.

It’s not an “official” junior rodeo event, cautioned organizer Jessie Cunningham of Paradise. “It’s more of a play day,” she said.

“(Husband) Collin and I both grew up here and they used to have play days at the fairgrounds when we grew up,” Jessie recalled. “They don’t really have that anymore, so we decided to start one up.”

The Cunninghams planned the event around their kitchen table and held the first play day last year in September.

This year they scheduled a little later, but the ranching families were lined up to take part.

“We buy the insurance and a couple of people pitch in for that and the rental of the arena,” Jessie said. “Then we pay out for the top placements in all the events for kids 8 years old and up.”

Those events included barrels, poles, dummy roping, team sorting, team roping and breakaway roping. There were other events for the PeeWees, including dummy roping from the ground, poles and barrels from horses led by parents, sucker plucking (grabbing a sucker off a goat), and the stick horse race.

PeeWees don’t pay to play, but there is a minimal charge for the juniors (8-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years) and seniors (15-18 years).

Top winners this year included team sorters Codi Cunningham, 9, of Paradise, Beth Anderson, 13, of Enterprise, and Addie Royes, 11, of Enterprise.

No one made their catch in team roping or breakaway, but Brianna Micka, 14, of Enterprise took top place in barrels, poles and dummy roping from horseback.

The Cunninghams and friends are going to try and schedule two play days next year, one in early June and another in late fall. If you’d like to be part of that, call Jessie at 541-828-7007.

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