Crowded Corrals: Stampede attendance increases
It is still before grand entry at the 2014 Spirit Mountain Stampede and horses are tied to horse trailers along the road in, soaking up the sun.
Cowboys are practicing with their lassos.
In the ring, Rodeo Special Event Board Chair Harold Lyon, Secretary Jim Holmes and board member Joy Burcham ride in with flags flying for the start of the Spirit Mountain Stampede.
Board member Ed Ashman and Jolanda Catabay follow in a truck supplied by sponsor Capitol Auto Group. Catabay sings "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Other members of the Rodeo Special Event Board are Vice Chair Duke Kimsey, Opal Hale, Bob Duncan and Cheryl Kidwell.
Stampede crowds during the two-day event were about 10 percent larger this year, said Lyon, a nine-year leader of the rodeo board. He attributed better attendance to increased outreach and noted that more fans printed out their tickets online this year. Rodeo fans came from the east side of Portland and as far north as Astoria.
Speakers reaching the far end of the Rodeo Grounds and into the bleachers start an afternoon of rock 'n' roll and country music. All the rested horses in the sun begin moving to the ring, where the sunbathing is over. The competition begins.
The Stampede started at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20, though on Friday night, the overflow -- those who could not be accommodated on Saturday and Sunday -- competed for the same prizes, only without the crowds.
Of 15 sponsors this year, Boyd's Coffee has been part of the Stampede, earlier called the Grand Ronde Rodeo, as far back as 1996, said Lyon.
Other sponsors were Bill Mattecheck and Associates, Blue Star Gas, Capitol Auto Group, Grand Ronde Food and Fuel Co., Hays Companies, Hofenbredl Timber, Allann Brothers Coffee, Ray Drayton Septic, Dan Kauffman Excavating, Doris Rose CPA, Rice Furniture, Innovative Care Management, Food Services of America, Frito Lay, 1 Day Signs, Columbia Distributing, Wells Fargo Bank, Walter E. Nelson Co., Pepsi and Spirit Mountain Casino.
The Grand Ronde Rodeo was first held on the casino's grounds. At least one cowboy thought it would be a good idea to take it back. Northwest Professional Rodeo Association champ Sam Willis said he would like to see it held again at the casino to take advantage of the extra traffic.
Willis, one leg in a cast owing to "a freak accident that you could not repeat," has been healing for two of a six-week recovery period. His daughters, Stevie Rae Willis and Sammy Jo Cardoza, represented the family in breakaway roping and barrel racing events.
The Willises make their living traveling the rodeo circuit from spring to autumn each year. They take the winter off at their ranch in Terrebonne, near Redmond.
The family's life at rodeos also was documented in their 2012 reality series, "Stompin' Ground."
"It's a good little rodeo," said Willis, on the fan side of the fence for a change. "They do a good job."
"We're one of the top money events in the NPRA," said Lyon. "The bucking bulls will rate right up there with the big boys like Pendleton and St. Paul."
The bulls were so good that this is the first year in Lyon's memory when nobody reached the minimum eight seconds required to place in the bull riding competition.
Fifteen sponsors, and another five who advertised in the program booklet, pony up more than $13,000 for the $60,000 event. The number of sponsors has been consistent over recent years, said Lyon.
"My goal is to get our income from sponsors and other supporters to about 60 percent of our total cost," Lyon said.
Announcer this year was Scott Allen, named Announcer of the Year 15 times by NPRA. He previously has announced for the Stampede.
"It's simple," Allen said, introducing the bareback riding event, first up on Sunday. "One hand, one man, one horse."
He encouraged the audience to try the Long Bell Diner at Grand Ronde Station. "Cheeseburgers as big as your head and you don't have to go in debt to get one," he said.
Tribal Elders and members attending included Khani Schultz, Denise Harvey, Herman Hudson Jr., Joel Selwyn, Marion Mercier, Louise Coulson, Violet Folden and Gladys Hobbs, among many others.
Schultz took photographs again and, as is her practice, she gave them to Lyon after the show. Selwyn also photographed the event, intending to put his best ones up on his Facebook page.
Although no Tribal members participated in the adult competitions, Amaryssa Mooney won the Kids Ring Toss, where children competed to get a big ring over the head of a running calf.
Long before cowboy rodeos, Indians had competitions with horses.
"Horses were synonymous with Indians going back to early times," said Lyon. "In the beginning for Indian Tribes, a lot of their wealth depended on how many horses they had. They used these horses for war, transportation, everything. They had games of endurance and others where they would ride with lances and spears, not at each other, but at dummies. Mostly, the games were warlike."
The $2,000 Stampede Series all-around awards went to B.J. Campbell (male) and Jade Crossley (female), and the winner of the Merle Holmes Memorial Trophy went to stock provider Howell Rodeo Co. because no riders qualified in the bull riding event.
"The bulls won," Jim Holmes said.
- Nick Gutzwiller, 75 pts., $864.
- Tony Buckman and Kyle Bounds, 74 pts., $540 each.
1, Kade McLean and Cooper Dewitt, 77 pts., $744.12 each.
- Jacob Stacy and T.B. Hannan, 72 pts., $463.32 each.
- Ricky Canton, 7.5 seconds, $1,192.32.
- Ty Holly, 8.2 seconds, $1,036.80.
- Travis Eller, 8.5 seconds, $881.28.
- Dalton Massey, 4.3 seconds, $1.141.44.
- Taylor Gregg and Cody McCleary, 4.6 seconds, $864.24 each.
- Michael & Anthony Calmelat, 4.9 seconds, $1,238.88.
- Garret Rogers & Brent Falon, 5.8 seconds, $1025.28.
- Buck McCay & Dace Woods, 6.1 seconds, $811.68.
- Jennifer Forhman, 2.2 seconds, $1,126.08.
- Shay Jones, 2.4 seconds, $979.20.
- Desi Dotson, 2.6 seconds, $832, 32.
- Lacey Stovner, 16.82 seconds, $1,104.
- Sam Boone, 16.89 seconds, $960.
- Stevie Ray Willis, 16.9 seconds, $816.