Despite threats of inclement weather, the only thunder rolling around Adams County Fairgrounds for this weekend’s Oregon Trail Rodeo was the sound of livestock rumbling from beneath those riding them.
The rodeo wrapped up the rain-free series Sunday, with only a few flashes of lightning on the horizon hinting at what may otherwise have been a soggy experience for those who attended.
Instead, the rain stayed away each night during performance hours, including Friday, when torrential rain fell shortly after all had exited the grounds.
While specific attendance numbers weren’t available, fairgrounds executive director Sandy Himmelberg was all smiles this morning about how many people filled the grandstands to partake of the newly rescheduled affair.
Based on what she saw and heard, Himmelberg believes the event may well have found a new permanent home one week earlier than usual.
“This is probably the best decision the Oregon Trail Rodeo Committee ever made moving the rodeo one week earlier,” Himmelberg said. “Saturday was one of the biggest crowds that I think we’ve ever had. Everyone we talked to said this is a great move on our part.
“I can tell you (attendance) it’s much better than we’ve had the last few years. We had a lot of comments that this is probably one of the best rodeos we’ve ever had as far as the stock and cowboys are concerned.”
A pair of native Nebraskans hit gold in their respective categories. Ogallala native Chase Miller won the saddle bronc riding title, while Bart Miller of Pleasanton (no relation) topped the field in bull riding.
North Dakota cowboy Ty Breuer defended his bareback riding title with another top performance, earning points toward qualifying for his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the process.
Others who took home top honors in their respective categories included: Boe Brown, Valentine, tie down roping; Chancey Larson, Manhattan, Kan., steer wrestling; Andrew Ward and Reagan Ward, Edmond, Okla., team roping; and Laura Lambert of Wiggins, Colo., barrel racing. Steven Dent of Mullen won the all-around title.
Promoter Ruth Nicolaus said that while all three days of the rodeo were well-attended, it appeared as though Saturday was likely the best day of them all. And while Sunday had been the rodeo’s best day in previous years, she thinks the new time slot may turn Saturday into the top drawing day from now on.
“In past years, Sunday was always our strong day because Monday was a holiday,” she said.
“Now that’s going to switch because (almost) nobody has to work on Sunday. Hastings supports its rodeo, whether it’s high school rodeo in the spring or this one in the fall.”
1. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D. 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Vegas Moon; 2. (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb. and Tyler Waltz, Martin, Tenn. 81 each; 4. Casey Breuer, Mandan, N.D. 78; 5. (tie) Wesley Cole, Goodwell, Okla. and Kyle Brennecke, Grain Valley, Mo. 71 each.
Tie Down Roping
1. Boe Brown, Valentine, Neb., 8.7 seconds; 2. Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 9.8; 3. Luke Madsen, Marshalltown, Iowa, 10.4; 4. Ben Madsen, Anardarko, Okla., 10.6; 5. Tyler Garten, Kingman, Kan., 10.9; 6. Jerome Schneeberger, Ponca City, Okla., 11.0; 7. Kyon Buckley, Weatherford, Okla., 11.6; 8. Braden Buckley, Weatherford, Okla., 11.8.
Saddle Bronc Riding
1. Chase Miller, Edmond, Okla., 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Nurse Jumpsalot; 2. (tie) Wes Bailey, Cottonwood Falls, Texas, and Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., 80 each; 4. Andy Clarys, Riverton, Wyo., 79; 5. Tayte Clark, Meadow, S.D., 78; 6. Dawson Jandreau, Kennebec, S.D., 77.
1. Chancey Larson, Manhattan, Kan., 4.2; 2. Ty Talsma, Verdigre, Neb., 4.4; 3. Brady Hageman, McCook, Neb., 4.5; 4. (tie) Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., and Jeff Miller, Blue Mound, Kan., 4.7 each; 6. Tooter Silver, Quitman, Ark., 5.2;
1. Andrew Ward, Edmond, Okla./Reagan Ward, Edmond, Okla., 5.4 seconds; 2. Brett Christensen, Alva, Okla./Chase Boekhaus, Alva, Okla., 5.5; 3. (tie) Adam Rose, Willard, Mo./Billie Saebens, Nowata, Okla., and Dylan Gordon, Comanche, Okla./Gage Williams, Foster, Okla., 5.6 seconds each; 5. Jeff Johnston, Thedford, Neb./Todd Hollenbeck, Long Pine, Neb., 5.7; 6. Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D./Jordan Olson, Surprise, Ariz., 6.1;
1. Laura Lambert, Wiggins, Colo., 15.85 seconds; 2. Jessica Leach, Rockwell, Neb., 16.00; 3. Tally Roepke, Washta, Iowa, 16.09; 4. Kristen Zancanella, Aurora, S.D., 16.11; 5. Korrina Hughes, Glenwood, Iowa, 16.12; 6. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan., 16.14; 7. Laura Kennedy, Quitman, Ark., 16.15; 8. Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo., 16.19; 9. Annie Hasselbalch, Bennet Neb., 16.45; 10. Emily Holton, Tonganoxie, Kan., 16.53.
1. Bart Miller, Oshkosh, Neb., 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Huckleberry; 2. Guthrie Murray, Miami, Okla., 81; 3. Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D., 79; 4. Triston Boor, Medicine Lodge, Kan., 76; 5. Jarrod Craig, Hillsboro, Texas, 75; 6. Jeston Mead, Ashland, Kan., 69.