Riding to rodeo glory

By Jamie Harkins

July 7, 2017 11:22 AM

Bill Phipps and Brent Galloway attempt to catch a calf in the team roping competition. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

Knowing what you need to do to win only benefits those who can complete the task.
A strong opening round during the Lakeland Rodeo Association (LRA) stop at Onion Lake Heritage Park last Saturday made for some difficult times and scores to overcome the next afternoon, but a few competitors were up for the challenge.
Athletes in three events surpassed the opening day mark, including three girls in the peewee barrel racing event.
Harleigh Henderson captured the buckle for the peewee girls with a time of 18.64 seconds on the final run of the competition, while Aubrey Ross and Navada Keith picked up the second and third place titles, respectively, shortly before her run.
All three girls eclipsed the time of first go leader Hailey Duncan, who notched a 19.04-second mark on the opening day of the event.
“It’s just kicking a lot and lifting my hands and stuff,” said Henderson, 10, who accomplished the feat on her horse Johnny Cash. “We just ride a lot together.”
Ryley Borris got the second day of the rodeo off to a solid start, by recording a buckle winning 76-point ride in the bareback competition.
All the competitors in the tie-down roping event failed to match Borris’ success, allowing Jason Smith to capture the title thanks to a 8.2-second first-day time.
A few athletes managed to give junior steer riding first go leader Jett Lambert and his score of 71.5 a run, including Lashburn’s Landon Ouellette, who finished in fourth place with a score of 68 points, but none would prevail. Taylor Weinberger also easily held on to the steer wrestling lead with a first day time of 4.8 seconds as did Grady Smeltzer in the junior bull riding event, thanks to a 74-point score.
Lashburn’s Hayden Ouellette didn’t manage to earn a score in the junior bull riding event, but that didn’t put a damper on his chance to compete in Onion Lake. The LRA competition marked Ouellette’s first time riding at Heritage Park, and a return for the family after his grandfather Ron McEwan got his start in saddle bronc there 62 years ago.
“I’m a third generation cowboy,” said Ouellette, 16, who started bull riding about four summers ago.
“I’ve been improving a lot, and just got to keep trying. I have lots of support with me this year and everyone is helping me push and move on.”
The barrel racing competition title went to first go leader Justine Elliot, thanks to a time of 17.51 seconds, but Marshall’s Cougan Pegg did give her a run with a 19.87 time. Cody Borris unseated opening-day leader Chance Barrass by a half a point, to win the saddle bronc event with a score of 73.5, while JT Robinson and Jenner Meston combined for a 6.2 second ride on the first leg of the team roping competition to win the buckles.
Ethan Schultz also held on to win the bull riding event with a score of 81.5 in spite of a determined challenge from Coy Robbins on the second day.
Robbins rode I’m On Fire to a 77-point score and second-place finish.
“I’ve seen that bull before,” said Robbins, 18. “I’ve been on him. That actually was the third time. So, I knew what he was going to do and it’s just all ride in the middle ,and it works out from there.”
The LRA competition marked Robbins’ third rodeo of the weekend. He placed seventh in Rockyford and was bucked off a bull in Kinuso in the two days prior to the Onion Lake event.
“I really enjoy this rodeo,” he said. “There’s lots of fans, a good crowd, and one of the bigger ones for sure out of the Lakeland Rodeo Association. We go all year to make the finals in St. Paul, so as many rodeos as you can hit the better.”

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