The 66th Annual Pioneer City Rodeo and Labor Day celebration in Palestine has come and gone, and while organizers were apprehensive about audiences and performers, a sold-out Saturday night and top-notch competitors made for an outstanding weekend.
Bareback and saddle bronc riding have been big events for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and this year's competitors left nothing in the chutes.
Shane O'Connell, Rapid City, S.D., took Cat Nap for a spin to take the buckle and $2,064 in prize money the bareback competition with an 87-point ride. Hunter Carter took second with an 84, while Jake Brown and Chad Rutherford tied with a pair of 83.5 rides. Waylon Bourgeois just missed out with an 83 on Scarlet from Hell. Tanner Phipps took sixth place with Stetson Bierman and Paden Hurst both placing in the money.
Some prefer a saddle, and Shorty Garrett rode Blonde Lizard for 84 points to take home $2,267. Parker Kempfer held on for 82 points, while Wyatt Casper, and Isaac Diaz held on for second, third and fourth. Logan Hullinger and Roper Kiesner tied for fifth, with Bradley Harter, Byron Gilliland and Jordan Corrigan placing just in the money.
The bulls may have looked docile, but once on top it was tough to hang on. Cole Fischer managed and 84 point ride on Last Tangle to claim $4,086 in prize money. Tyler Ray Viers took home the other $3,551 with his 81 point ride on Sully.
Rope, throw and brand 'em is the idea of tie down roping and two seconds can mean the difference between $1,200 and $200. Jesse Hinkle took the buckle in 8.9 seconds, and was followed by Roy Lee, Luke Madsen, T. J. Hobson, Dawson Turner and Bob Loosenort.
The steers were quick and sneaky, but Kamry Dymmek managed to wrestle one in 3.5 seconds to take $1,417 back home to Kissimmee, Fla., just in time to wrestle with Hurricane Dorian. Less the a second separated the rest of the field as Ben Kilburg, Chance Carlson, Jake Johnson, Tyler Harris and Cody Metsker managed 4.3 seconds or better to place in the money.
It take two to Tango, and team roping takes a good partner. Cory Petska and Iceman Miller teamed up for a 5.9 second run to earn $1,662. Other partners, Brandon Webb and Kollin VonAhn, Joe Jacobsen and Randy Melby, Brant Spurgin and Gabe Gwaitney, Will Clark and Kelsey Parchman, and John Alley and Clark Adcock managed to get their ropes over the head and heels for a little bit of prize money.
Speed is what it takes to win in barrel racing, and less than half a second separated first and 10th place. Brittany Jacobsen was fastest with a 16.96 second ride to win $1,340. She was followed by Abby Pursifull, Jessi Fish, Julie Erkamaa, Cora Borman, Marne Loosenort, Jordan Miller, Lacinda Rose Lois Ferguson and Patti Hovland with time of 17.32 seconds.
Pioneer City Rodeo contestants competed for $36,000 in prize money and buckles this year, and to make things a little more interesting on Saturday and Sunday night Championship Pro Rodeo had riders draw for chance at a bounty bull of $2,500. Unfortunately no one could hold on for the full eight seconds.
Plans are already underway to make next year's Pioneer City Rodeo bigger and better.