Roundup has record number of entries including numerous past and present world champions

It's rodeo time again.

The annual Crooked River Roundup runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We have a record number of entries and world champions in almost every event,” said Roundup Rodeo Chairman Shawn Connolly. “We went from $3,000 to $4,000 added money and we think that’s an improvement and we have all good stock again.”

The rodeo already had 349 contestants entered prior to Monday’s four-hour re-entry period. Connolly added that he expects to see several more people enter on LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - A steer wrestler competes in the Friday morning slack performance last year at the Crooked River Roundup. This year's roundup has a record number of entries which are expected to include several past and current world champions. The Roundup begins with a slack performance at 11 a.m. Friday and concludes with Sunday's final performance which begins at 2 p.m.

Among the record number of entrants are 88 barrel racers.

“If you like barrel racing, Friday is going to be very good,” Connolly said. “It’s a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) tour event and an automatic qualifier for Calgary.”

Although there will be barrel racing at all three rodeo performances, the majority of barrel racers will compete in a slack performance following the conclusion of Friday night’s Roundup go round.

“People are encouraged to stay,” Connolly said. “The infield concession stand will still be open and it should be very good watching.”

Several National Rodeo Finals contestants are expected to compete in this year’s barrel racing.

However, that’s not the only event that is expected to have world class competition.

Connolly said that both the saddle bronc and team roping events are especially loaded with talent.

Because many of the performers are entered in both the Roundup and Reno the same weekend, Connolly said that there is no guarantee that everyone who is entered will make it to Prineville. Because contestants draw for go rounds, some are scheduled to compete in both rodeos on the same day. However, performers who find other Cowboys to trade with them will still be able to compete in both rodeos. In addition, the Reno Rodeo ends Saturday night so many of the big names are expected to be in Prineville on Sunday.

“Sunday will be very good,” Connolly said. “There are a lot of team ropers that are near the top of the standings and the bronc riding should be outstanding. Sunday has been good for the last several years, but “Championship Sunday” will be even better this year.”

This year’s Roundup has several changes. Instead of having a specialty act, barrel man John Harrison, who worked at the 2013 NFR, will perform all three days.

“He’s going to do the walk and talk barrel routine, but he’s also going to do a couple of acts,” Connolly said.

In addition, long-time announcer Curt Robinson will be joined by fellow announcer Marty Kimball.

“This is his first PRCA rodeo, but he has done the college national finals,” Connolly said. “He’s going to be on horseback in the arena so he is going to be up-close and personal with people in the stands and he will be like the color commentator.”

For the last several years the Roundup has run two go rounds in all timed events each day of the event. As a result there will be slack performances each day with contestants competing in their first go round during slack and their second go round during the performance later that same day. The one exception will be steer roping where all go rounds will be completed during slack.

Friday and Saturday’s slack performances begin at 11 a.m. while Sunday’s slack is scheduled for 8 a.m.

Evening performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with Sunday’s matinee performance beginning at 2 p.m.

All slack performances are open to the public at no cost. General admission tickets for all three rodeo performances are available at the gate.

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