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Rodeo tumbles through town

Katherine Morris
Photo by Lindsey Rhynard.Barrel racer Renee Ryckebosch of Reno looks for her route.
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Faster than a rider gets bucked off an angry bull, the Truckee Championship Truckee Rodeo blew through town last weekend.

As always, the popular annual event, which is in its 28th year, corralled a healthy crowd for four days of festivities at the McIver Rodeo Grounds off Highway 267.

People from near and far, cowboys and city-slickers alike, mingled over Budweisers in the grandstands and on the lawn, decked out in rodeo finery: Stetson’s, Wranglers and leather.

“This is what life is all about,” said Tom Houk, a 44-year rodeo veteran and Colorado resident. “I traveled 1,200 miles just to be here for this.”

Houk said he was first turned on to rodeo life back in 1958 by a junior high Sunday school teacher – the late Bill Cody – who Houk says happened to be one of the best “bull doggers” or steer wrestlers around.

Even though Houk has served as a judge at some of the largest rodeos in the country, he said he was quite impressed with Truckee’s event.

“This is truly a beautiful setting for a rodeo with all of the pine trees around us and the mountains,” he said, wiping the sweat from his brow on a balmy Saturday evening.

Saturday and Sunday offered all of the traditional events including bull riding, bareback broncos, saddle broncos, team roping, steer wrestling, calf roping and barrel racing.

The rodeo first kicked off Thursday, with a Kid’s Day celebration featuring clowns, bullfighters and Smokey the Bear. On Friday, people gathered at the arena for locally sponsored team penning, in which four people on horseback have two minutes to get three cows into a pen.

While Houk said he’s smart enough to steer clear from events like bull riding, he sure likes to watch.

“That SOB (the bull) will eat ya if he gets you on the ground,” he said with a grin, after a rider was trampled after hitting the ground by one of the 2,000-pound beasts.

Just then the pick up man, the horseman who rescues riders after an event, pranced by, spraying a crowd that had gathered along the fence with dirt.

“This definitely is a different kind of experience,” said first-time rodeo attendee Sean Harper, of San Lorenzo, Calif. “I’m glad I got to see what this is all about.”

Event coordinators enjoyed the success of this year’s event as well.

“Everything went really well,” said Lynn Stewart of the Truckee Championship Rodeo. “We had a great crowd and everyone had a lot of fun.”

Top Scores and Winnings:

Bareback Riding:

Alex Meroshnekoff – $659.60

Daniel Wyatt – $494.70

Saddle Bronc:

George Veader – $721.68

David Howard – $541.26

Bull Riding:

Buddy Gulden – $1,078.64

Mark B. Smith – $808.98

Thomas Rice – $539.32

Calf Roping:

Mike George – $970

Troy Murry – $727.50

Neil Howard – $458

Steer Wrestling:

Jim Banister – $853.60

Billy Bugenig – $640.20

Jeff Hare – $426.80

Team Roping:

Walt and Russ Rodman – $785.70 (each)

Steve Smith Jr. and Walt Woodard – $589.27 (each)

Troy Murry and Joseph Schaunego – $392.85 (each)

Barrel Racing:

Ruth Haislip – $500

Sharon Vulich – $434.88

Melanie Baumgartner – $369.65.

Rodeo Queen 2002: Lindsey Hines


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