he 108th annual Pendleton Round-Up heads into its final day Saturday, when the champions in eight rodeo events will win cash and trophy saddles and other swag, their reward for competing in a tough sport.
The Round-Up, which for the third straight year won the “Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year” award from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, an association that covers over 600 rodeos a year, is one of the most storied events in Oregon. For one week each year tens of thousands of visitors pour into the town, making it one huge cowboy festival. Streets are closed for carnival-like festivities and cowboy hats adorn the heads of nearly every man and woman there.
Here are the results of Friday’s rodeo events and the summary for the week, heading into the finals on Saturday.
Bareback rider Steven Peebles, Redmond, OR, a regional favorite for Friday’s capacity audience at the Round-Up, has won here. He won the event on Friday. And he’d like to win the event title on Saturday. As he did last year. And as he did in 2013.
Asked about his top scoring ride on Friday, Peebles said, “This is my backyard rodeo—I don’t live far from here. I’ve got two wins under my belt and it’s starting to come to the end so I’d like a third.”
The Round-Up is one of the late rodeos in the long summer rodeo season. If Peebles, now ranked 21st in the world standings by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, could win a couple of the late rodeos he might make it into the ranks of the 15 in bareback riders who will compete in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The WNFR, the world series of rodeo, is held in December in Las Vegas.
Of course, cowboys always credit their horse and Peebles is no exception. His 83.5 point ride included 40 points for his horse.
“That horse is an awesome horse, Youngstown Rocket from Calgary Stampede,” exclaimed Peebles. Referring to the stock contractor he added, “Anytime you get a horse from Calgary Stampede you know they’re going to be solid, buckin’. Today, just when he was about to hit the grass, I felt him come around and I thought we ain’t gonna do this so just stay tight. It was fun.”
The Pendleton Round-Up is the only major outdoor rodeo with a grass infield. Bucking stock leave the chute with rider aboard onto a dirt track but it quickly meets the grass, which spooks some horses. They turn back toward the chute so the rider has to persuade them to reverse direction.
Following Peebles were Tim O’Connell , Zwingle, IA, with 82 points and Blake Smith, Zap, ND, at 81.5, just besting Wyatt Denny, Minden, NV, at 81.
O’Connell is currently ranked #1 in the PRCA’s world standings, while Smith is #42 and Denny is #15. Peebles would have to move to at least Denny’s spot if he is to appear at the WNFR this year. He has qualified for the WNFR six times, with one title, in 2015, the last year he qualified. If the 29-year-old can win at Pendleton for a second straight year he just might make it. Over the three days of the rodeo through Friday he has the second highest score, just behind Blaine Kaufman’s 85.0 on Thursday and just ahead of O’Connell and Ty Breur, tied at 82.0. Of course, he’ll have to do well on Saturday’s final day.
Two local cowboys had first and second best times in Friday’s calf roping performance. Ty Holly, Mt. Vernon, OR, finished with a time of 10.4 seconds while Brad Goodrich of nearby Hermiston, OR, caught his calf in 11.1 seconds. They were followed closely by another regional cowboy, Jason Minor, Ellensburg, WA, 11.4 seconds.
Top times for the Round-Up through Friday have belonged to Jake Hannum, Plain City, UT, in first place with a time of 8.7, followed in a tie for second/third by Ty Harris, San Angelo, TX, and Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, LA, both at 9.5 seconds. Hanchey won the event here last year with an average time of 9.3. Of this group he is the top ranked roper in the PRCA world standings, at #3. The next highest is be Ty Harris, #23. Only the top 15 will make it to the WNFR.
Goodrich, 50, is a longtime favorite in the Pendleton area. He won the All Around Champion title at the Round-Up in 2004 and the calf roping title in 2004 and 2008. He has qualified for the WNFR six times, last in 2004. Hannum, 38, qualified once for the WNFR, in 2007, and finished 2017 in 48th place in the PRCA world standings. He is currently #38.
In its second year at the Round-Up, breakaway roping featured eight contestants on Friday, only four of whom caught their calf for a time. Lauren Leyva, Prineville, OR led with a time of 3.0 seconds, followed by Macy Fuller, Wittman, AZ, 3.2, and tied for third at 3.3 seconds, Kayla Bland, Rupert, ID, and Jamie Marts, Adrian, OR.
Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where the calf is roped, but is not thrown and tied. Instead, a string is tied from the roper’s rope to the saddle horn. When the calf is roped the string breaks, the roper releases her rope and the calf runs loose. The time is called when the string breaks.
Clay Elliott, Nanton, AB, seemed to be on his way to a victory in the saddle bronc event Friday at the Round-Up. He had an outstanding ride aboard Umber Bubbles and the judges recognized his and his horse’s performance with an 86. But then, four cowboys down the roster, Colt Gordon, Comanche, OK, rode a very bucky steed, the aptly named YUR Friskey, to an 86.5, knocking Elliott down by half a point to second place. It appeared the horse played a large role, since the judges gave Umber Bubbles 42.5 points and YUR Friskey 43 points.
In judging rough stock (bucking) events, the judges have a theoretical total of 100 points, 50 to the rider and 50 to the animal. A rough, tough, hard bucking horse can make up a few points and bring a rider forward a place or two.
Gordon, 21, joined the PRCA two years ago, after competing in that year’s National High School Finals Rodeo as a saddle bronc rider. He has yet to qualify for the WNFR and finished last year, his second in professional rodeo, at 47th in the PRCA world standings for this event. This year has been his best yet, winning five rodeos as a bronc rider. He’s currently 25th in the world standings.
In third place Friday were Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, AB, and Allen Boore, Axtell, UT, tied at 82. The top ranked saddle bronc rider in the PRCA’s world standings, Jacobs Crawley, Boeme, TX, also rode Friday but managed only a 79, leaving him well down in the competition for Friday.
In the overall competition leading up to Saturday’s finals the Round-Up has Gordon ranked first, Elliott second and Jake Wright, Milford, UT, third with an 85. Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, TX, and Wade Sundell, Boxholm, IA, are tied for fourth at 83.5.
Bulldogging is similar to rodeo roping events in that a cowboy on a horse chases after a steer. However, the bulldogger gets much closer to the steer in motion, landing on the steer, grabbing it by the horns and flipping it to get its four feet into the air for a final time. Sometimes the steer lands on the cowboy, sometimes the cowboy misses the steer and does a face plant, something the audience witnessed on Friday at the Round-Up.
After Bear Pascoe’s outstanding time of 4.1 seconds in this event on Thursday, Sterling Lambert, Fallon, NV, came close with a time of 5.1 on Friday. Now Pascoe and Lambert are headed for the finals on Saturday with the top two times over the Round-Up through Friday. Behind Lambert on Friday were Hayden Fullerton, Dayton, WA, with a time of 6.8 seconds, and Michael Bates, Jr., Mexican Springs, NM, at 7.5.
Overall through Friday, behind Pascoe and Lambert are Tom Lewis, Lehi, UT, and Jesse Brown Baker City, OR, with times of 5.7 and 5.8, achieved earlier in the week. Lewis is #36 and Brown #37 in the PRCA standings.
Lambert, 32, finished 2017 23rd in the PRCA standings and is 30th currently. He has yet to win a rodeo this year.
Seven of 12 roping teams qualified for a team on Friday at the Round-Up, with the team of Jeff Flenniken/Jake Minor posting the best time, 6.4 seconds. They were followed by Lane Ivy, Dublin, TX/Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, KS, 6.9, and Blake Knowles, Heppner, OR/Tex Sutfin, Joseph, OR, 7.4.
Through Friday, the overall leaders at the Round-Up in the event were Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX/Patrick Smith, Lipan, TX, 4.9 seconds; Cody Snow, Los Olivos, CA/Wesley Thorp, Throckmorton, TX, 5.1; and Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, UT/Quinn Kesler, Holden, UT, 5.6. Top ranked among those are Cody Snow, 7th/Thorp, 11th; Richard, 14th/Kessler, 18th; and Brazile, 31/Smith, 29th.
The Ivy/Hawkins team has done well in 2018, winning five rodeos after finishing 20th/16th as a header/heeler pair in 2017. While Hawkins, 31, began his rodeo career in 2011, Ivy, 25, began a year later. According to Ivy, the Pendleton Round-Up is his favorite rodeo.
“The competition is good and it pays well,” and he says, “it’s the most challenging rodeo because it has a long barrier, fast steers and the competition is on grass.”
Ivy has yet to qualify for the WNFR while Hawkins has qualified once, in 2013.
The bulls seemed especially tough on Friday, throwing 10 of the competitors before their eight second minimum ride. Still, five managed a score. Leading was Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, ID, with 85.5. His outstanding ride left him in a tie with the previous leader for the week, Koby Radley, Montpelier, LA. Behind Jarboe on Friday were Sage Steele Kimzey, Strong City, OK, 83.5, and Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, UT, 81.5.
Kimzey won this event at the Round-Up in both 2015 and 2016. His current spot in the PRCA world standings in bull riding, #1, would suggest he might rise to the top in Saturday’s finals, but he’ll have tough competition. Radley is 18th in the PRCA world standings, Jarboe is 7th, and Tyler Bingham—7th this far in the Round-Up--is 14th in the PRCA standings.
At 22 Jarboe has spent only three years as a professional bull rider but he finished 2017 in 9th place, has already qualified for the WNFR twice and has won six rodeos this year. He started in 2016 by winning the 2016 Resistol Rookie of the Year award. He says he has been an understudy in bull riding to his dad, Bo, as he traveled with his bull riding dad to events. His dad later built an arena at their home near New Plymouth so Roscoe could pursue the sport, starting with calves at four. But it’s not just bulls for Jarboe—he and his traveling rodeo buddies play golf whenever they can, just to relax.
Barrel racers on Friday turned in some outstanding times, best of the week, to take them into Saturday’s Round-Up finals.
Jolene Douglas-Hoburg, Kennewick, WA, rounded the barrels and headed down the stretch to finish in 28.73 seconds, just ahead of Cheyenne Allan, Mabton, WA, at 28.76. Behind them was Jessie Telford, Caldwell, ID, at 29.06.
For the week Douglas-Hoburg is first with her 28.73 seconds performance, followed by Allan in second and Kacey Gartner, Walla Walla, WA, who finished at 28.93 earlier in the week to make it to Saturday’s finals. Others who will show up on Saturday include Italy Sheehan, Shoshone, ID, 29.05, Jessie Telford, Caldwell, ID, 29.06; and Mindy Goemmer, Battle Mountain, NV, 29.09.
Douglas-Hoburg has raced at the Round-Up in years past, including last year when she finished 10th with a time of 29.18 and in 2016 with a time of 30.89, and sees herself steadily improving. This could be her year.