Weather agrees with Kitsap's Thunderbird Rodeo

Billy Buchanan, from Klamath Falls, Ore., got his foot caught while being bucked off his horse Sunday during the Thunderbird Pro Rodeo’s Saddle Bronc event.  - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Billy Buchanan, from Klamath Falls, Ore., got his foot caught while being bucked off his horse Sunday during the Thunderbird Pro Rodeo’s Saddle Bronc event.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

About the only thing hotter than the action on the arena floor was the sun that accompanied it.

The sun was shining brightly on the Thunderbird Pro Rodeo, a benefit event for Corey’s Day on the Farm and the Northwest Burn Foundation, kicking off the summer Kitsap rodeo season at Thunderbird Arena last weekend with temperatures reaching into the low 90s.

“I’ve always said, ‘God’s a rodeo fan,’” rodeo co-producer Don Frazier said.

Frazier, who along with fellow co-producer Colen Corey announced the event, was happy with how the weekend unfolded, starting from Friday’s barrel races and concert to Sunday’s afternoon performance.

“We had a pretty good turnout,” Frazier said. “We have the best rodeo stock out here. And we had 220 cowboys.”

But of those numbers, only one can win each event. And with a total purse of $18,650, the competition was as heated as the weather.

Tenino’s Brett Hale won the All-Around Cowboy honor, thanks to finishing fourth in team roping as a header and second in tie-down roping. His time of 9.5 seconds in tie-down roping was just .8 off of winner Shane Erickson’s, of Terrebonne, Ore.

In bareback riding, Clint Wells, of Cottage Grove, Ore., rode rodeo horse and namesake Thunderbird to an 81 score, easily the top ride in the event, topping Jacob Fiddy’s 74 score by seven points. Locally, Bucky Dickson of Port Townsend finished third after scoring 73 on Walk in the Clouds.

Olympia’s Teri Bangart won the barrel race in exciting fashion, edging Redmond’s Katie Qualls and Dell Wright, of Ethel, with her time of 17.82 seconds. Qualls came in at 17.83 while Wright was another .01 behind at 17.84.

Sammy Jo Willis, of Terrebonne, won the breakaway roping competition thanks to a lighting-fast time of 2.4 seconds.

Redmond’s Brian Marshall won the bull riding event, with his score of 82, the only score to crack the 80 mark. Port Orchard’s Charlie Sorenson was fifth in the event with a score of 75 while riding Drop Zone.

In saddle bronc, it was another Redmond native in Mark Gage riding Pioneer Days to an 83. John Green, of La Grande, Ore., finished tied atop the steer wrestling standings with Ellensburg’s Jarred Thomas, both taking their steers to the floor in 4.7 seconds. Tonasket’s Ty Olson (header) and Ellensburg’s Jason Minor (heeler) won the team roping event with a time of 5.2 seconds.

“One of the things that really makes a big difference is the arena,” Frazier said of the tough performances by both cowboys and cowgirls as well as the stock. “This is a high quality, functional arena.”

With Thunderbird winning last year’s Northwest Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo of the Year award for its size, Frazier said he thought the event lived up to the higher billing.

“I think the response from the contestants lets us know we’ve done a good job,” he said. “And of course, it raises the bar for next year too.”

The only NPRA rodeo run entirely by volunteers, Frazier said those efforts, combined with sponsorships, made the event successful once again.

“Thanks to all our sponsors and all our volunteers,” he said. “That’s what makes this happen.”

He said the group is still working out how much money was raised for the charities.

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