The Esk’et Rodeo Club directors and committee members that hosted last weekend’s BCRA-Esk’et Rodeo at Alkali Lake worked hard to put on a first-class event and their efforts were rewarded as rodeo competitors showed up from all over the province to compete.
Esk’et Rodeo Club President, Bill Chelsea was here, there and everywhere ensuring that the event kept running smoothly while the other directors; Joy Johnson (Sec./Treasurer), Patricia Chelsea, Beverly Hutchinson and Robyn Robbins were all present throughout the weekend pitching in to do whatever needed to be done along with many volunteers; cooking (concession), opening arena gates, working the stripping chutes, running scores and more. The club hosted a great steak dinner each nigh following the rodeo ($10. for a steak, bannock and coleslaw).
A great deal of work was done on the rodeo grounds prior to the event, with loads fresh sand brought in for the arena-ground, improving the base which was noticeably better, particularly on Saturday, when in spite of fairly heavy rain for the first half of the rodeo the footing in the barrel racing appeared to be quite good (from a spectators point of view, at least). Additional improvements included; repairs/new stairs in seating areas, a large covered eating area with picnic tables, playground toys (a sand-pile) for children, an expanded warm-up area for contestants, plus a new warm-up area.
The rodeo stock was provided by C+ Rodeo of 150 Mile House and it was apparent that the rough-stock critters; bareback horses, saddle broncs, bulls and junior steer riding stock all appreciated the new arena footing as they were firing on all cylinders.
In the Saddle Bronc riding, there were only three competitors over the two-day rodeo; on Saturday Shayne Hudson (Williams Lake) climbed aboard C+’s bronc, Bender for an attempt at the prize money, it was not to be as the powerful bucking horse launched him almost immediately. The other two competitors were up on Sunday; Christoph Muigg (Hazelton) was summarily ejected from his seat on Starbucks (no score) while the only successful ride of the weekend was made by Clint Quesnel (Lumby) who rode C+ bronc, Mulligan for a mark of 63. Quesnel was awarded the option of a re-ride but (wisely) chose not to take it. As the only saddle-bronc rider with a score, the prize-money ($1164.80) was already in his pocket.
An added feature at Esk’et Rodeo was the Ranch Bronc Riding, an event in which the contestants (ranch-cowboys) must use everyday work-saddles; there were two contestants, one each day. Shayne Hudson (Williams Lake) on Saturday and Tom Hyde (Williams Lake) on Sunday tried hard, but the bucking-bronc’s supplied by C+Rodeo were just too strong for the cowboys.
In the Bareback riding, the C+ horses proved to be equally rank; on Saturday, Cash Kerner (Savona) marked a 68 (2nd place) on his first bareback-horse of the day (Keyser Soze’), not the prettiest ride he’s ever made as he struggled to make the whistle; it was a similar scenario for his second go-round of the day aboard the Sundance Kid, this time the judges marked him a 71 point-total, good enough to win (1st). Jake Hohmann (Quesnel) drew Bubbaganoosh for his first ride but the horse won that match-up, as did Hohmann’s second draw, Cash Factory (no score once again). Christoph Muigg of Hazelton, the only bareback rider out on Sunday managed to hang on for the full eight seconds to take 3rd-spot (Zohan-66 points).
The Junior Steer riding stock was very good with lots of high-jumping buckers; the winning score of the weekend was a 72-marking by Lane Paley (Quesnel).
The bull-pen was rank, as is usual. C+ Rodeo is best-known for their hard-to-ride battery of bucking bulls and this weekend the results weren’t any different. For the most part, the bulls prevailed; Lane Cork (Quesnel) was able to stay seated through the high-jumps, kicks, twists and turns employed by C+ Rodeo’s, Holy Roller in the attempt to dislodge him (Cork scored 79-points for the win). One of Cork’s travelling partners, Levi Lawlor (Quesnel) was the only rider to make the whistle (riding Area-51 for 70 points, 2nd place). The final tally, bulls-10; cowboys-2.