Cowboy’s tumble but never fall down as the crowd cheers them on at the 51st Annual Lakeside Rodeo

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At the Lakeside Rodeo Arena next to El Capitan High School, country music blasted over the white noise of passing cars as the 51st Lakeside Rodeo was set to begin last Friday.

Popcorn, dust and livestock swirled through the air to create an unexpectedly pleasant scent as the eclectic crowd was corralled behind the grandstands.

At the Lakeside Rodeo Arena next to El Capitan High School, country music blasted over the white noise of passing cars as the 51st Lakeside Rodeo was set to begin last Friday.

Popcorn, dust and livestock swirled through the air to create an unexpectedly pleasant scent as the eclectic crowd was corralled behind the grandstands.

Rick Hurst, El Capitan Stadium Association vice president and co-chairman of the Lakeside Rodeo, said the money raised all goes back to the community’s children and that he was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s the community supporting itself,” he said. “The real nice thing is to see how many people come from outside the community… We sold out Saturday night, we had a high attendance Friday night… I think we did pretty good, a lot of butts in seats.”

Though the rodeo would have four performances—one on Friday night, two on Saturday and the last on Sunday afternoon—fans did not have to wait long to get their money’s worth. Bareback bronc riding was the first event of the weekend and R.C. Landingham was the first rider. His bucking horse, Circuit Breaker, came out of the chute and favored quick right turns. Landingham lost his hat during the ride but held on for all eight seconds to score 84 points, the highest bareback score of the weekend.

In the bull-riding event, which featured two sections in each performance, nobody could top the 86 point ride from Kody DeShon, who finished 2014 as the third-ranked bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s Montana circuit. Fellow bull rider Pistol Robinson, a Texan, said his colleagues share a common bond.

“The gladiators that fought each other in the Coliseum, they were a brotherhood,” he said. “This is kind of the same, you know. We’re fighting these animals. We might be riding for the same money but I’m not competing against these guys. It’s me against my bull and them against their bull and however it comes out in the end.”

Tom Lewis won the steer wrestling with a 13.0 second time on two head while Seth Hall and Cole Sherwood finished first in team roping, tying up two head in 14.2 seconds.

Cody Angland scored 83 points after his eight-second ride on Little League to win a deep saddle bronc field that featured the PRCA’s defending national champion, Spencer Wright.

Cody Collins had the top mark in the tie-down roping event with a combined time 19.0 seconds on two head. Ruth Haislip’s 17.06 second ride barely edged Cassidy Kruse’s 17.09 second time to win the barrel racing event. Tyler Whitlow was named all-around cowboy after his performances in the tie-down and team roping events.

Although the PRCA competition was tough, announcer Don Jesser and rodeo clown/barrel man Kevin Higley kept the crowd entertained with humorous twists and skits. On Friday night, as the pick-up men tried to wrangle a bucking horse that had thrown its rider, Jesser unleashed a one-liner that sent the stadium into an uproar.

“Just because he doesn’t want to go home,” he said, “Probably means he’s a married horse.”

Two show stopping acts between competitions had crowds on their feet. Internationally acclaimed trick roper Rider Kiesner dazzled the crowd as the fastest roper known to man, world champion gun spinner and entertainer. Roping, whipping and gun slinging his way in the arena and through the crowd, his masterful skills hit a bulls eye, even whipping a soda cap off his head into the crowd above.

With their majestic stance, the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Clydesdales filled the arena displaying not only their beauty and power, but also the amazing horsemanship displayed by the driver.

And speaking of phenomenal horsemanship, pickup men Cody Mora, Jake Twissellman and Jared Groene were true heroes without the parade with their quick response in handling every unexpected turn (and there were many) that came their way.

Bullfighter Logan Blasdell, originally from Prineville, Oregon, said he enjoyed how connected the audience was with the event.

“I think the crowd responded great,” he said. “Shoot, they’ve always been booming down here. Get really excited about it. That’s one of the main reasons I love coming down here…warm weather, loud people.”

No event prompted louder cheers than the Lakeside Rodeo originated stick horse race. Children lined up at the starting line and waited for the toddlers to reach the halfway point, (the rodeo queens), before sprinting with the stick horses between their legs. The resulting mayhem provided excellent entertainment for the adults in the stands and every kid was declared a winner.

Hurst said his prize was being able to help the children of Lakeside.

“I know over the last few years we’ve been averaging over $200,000 going back out to the kids,” he said. “So it helps fund what some of these school districts just can’t do. Lakeside’s not a real high rent district, so anything we can do to feed back into the organization. That’s why we’re here.”

For full results and payoffs visit www.prorodeo.com.

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