9/8/2017 10:48:00 AM More spectators, contestants for this year's rodeo
Other than staying on the bull, the most important thing for the bull rider is getting out of the way after the ride is over. This rider was getting some help during the Saturday night rodeo performance. (Tom Compton photo)
The Pioneer City Rodeo continues to round up growing crowds and top competitors for Palestine's Labor Day Weekend festivities.
"What a weekend! Perfect weather, great turnout and great number of contestants," Rodeo Chairman Marcus Deckard said.
Spectator attendance numbers for this year's rodeo was up by 800. Contestants in all events, including rough stock, were up as well, Deckard pointed out.
"Since Championship Pro Rodeo came aboard they have had an awesome production," he said. "Our personnel in my opinion is the best group any committee could ask for."
For half a century, the rodeo has been a centerpiece of the Labor Day celebration, along with popular events such as the Chuckwagon Breakfast and the Palestine Labor Day Parade.
This year, 224 cowboys and cowgirls competed for a share of more than $49,800 in prize money.
The Pioneer City Arena was once the site of the world's record bull ride and the event remains a big draw. This year, 23 riders competed. Trevor Reiste placed first with a score of 87 points. In second was Blake Dunsmore and Freeman Yoder finished third.
The event with the most participants was team roping. Sixty cowboys competed, with Brent Aldoff and Ty Chancey taking top honors. The team of Ryan Von Ahn and Derrick Peterson was second, followed by Cody Graham and Jason Stroup.
In bareback riding, Tim O'Connell was first, followed by Chad Rutherford and Bill Tutor. Top honors in the saddle broc riding event went to Tate Thybo, with Jade Blackwell and Kirk Nelson coming in second and third, respectively.
In steer wrestling, Jacob D. Elder finished first. Second place went to Gary Gilbert and third went to Kyle Whitaker. T.J. Hobson won the tie-down roping competition, followed by Whitaker and Hadley DeShazo.
Lacinda Rose won the barrel racing event. Marne Loosenort was second and Laura Kennedy was third.
"I am so happy our rodeo is progressing in the direction it is going," Deckard said. "This rodeo means so much to me and when you care about it this much it will succeed.
He expressed gratitude to the public. "Without all of you this couldn't happen," he said.