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Crook County goes country

61st annual Crooked River Roundup brings a week filled with activities

by: CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Crooked River Roundup

Put on your cowboy boots and blue jeans. It's time for the Crooked River Roundup this weekend.
   The cattle drive is returning this year for the Roundup and gets under way at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The cattle drive starts at 10th and Main streets and heads down to the Crook County Fairgrounds.
   Also, Roundup Board of Directors President Hank Simmons said the chili feed will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday. This will be across the street from the courthouse at the new plaza. "Outside of the city providing the cattle drive, there's a couple western artists displaying some of their paintings," he said. That exhibit will also be held at the new plaza.
   On Thursday, the Roundup sponsors kickoff party will be held at the Stafford Inn, beginning at 6 p.m.
   "They usually have a band," Simmons said, adding that this gives people a chance to thank the event's sponsors.
   Simmons also explained where people can purchase tickets for the Roundup.
   "If you're buying tickets at the door, it's $14 general admission," he said. "If you're buying them prior to noon on Friday, it's $12. And we'll have people selling them at the chili feed too."
   People can also purchase Roundup tickets at Simmons Realty, and at Prineville Men's Wear.
   "And if you're out of town, you can buy tickets at any of the central Oregon Bi-Mart stores," Simmons said. Those are located in Prineville, Redmond, Bend, Madras and LaPine.
   The Roundup president was optimistic about this year's attendance.
   "I would say that last year we probably had anywhere around 4,000 attendees," Simmons said. "And this year, with what we have and our pre-season tickets, I would expect our attendance to go up 1,000 to 1,500."
   On Friday and Saturday, the Roundup rodeo gets under way at 7 p.m. There's also a Sunday 2 p.m. show.
   Also on Friday, the timed events slack of 8 a.m. is free to the public.
   "You can be there among the contestants and get to see some of the best cowboys go," Simmons said. That event will also be held at the fairgrounds.
   All rodeo performers who are in a timed event perform in the slack on Friday morning. Then all of them will compete at different times Friday or Saturday night, or on Sunday.
   Friday is Peterson Machinery Night at the Crooked River Roundup. Events begin at 8 a.m. until noon at the Rodeo Slack Rodeo Arena Crook County Fairgrounds. The PRCA rodeo performance begins at 7 p.m. with the second section of slack at 10 p.m. There will be a post-rodeo party at the Cinnabar, 121 NE Third Street, which is open to the public and will feature live entertainment.
   "What I want to tell everybody is that Prineville has always been a community town," Simmons said. "And the community has always supported our events and the rodeo. We always strive to keep our event, the premier event, in Prineville."
   Simmons added that people new to town make it a point to attend the Roundup each year.
   Additionally, this weekend the Prineville Firefighters will participate in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association's Fill-the-Boot drive. The Prineville community and visitors can support firefighters and help "Jerry's kids" by filling firefighters' boots with donations. This will take place Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the corner of Third and Main in Prineville and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, as firefighters will walk the Crooked River Roundup parade route.
   The Roundup parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and proceeds down Third Street.
   Also in keeping with the rodeo theme, the Prineville Elks will host a rodeo weekend on June 23 and 24. On Friday night, dinner of steak and halibut will be served from 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, from 11 to 1 p.m. after the parade, hamburgers and hot dogs will be served. Music will be performed by the N.W. Players on both nights.
   The Crook County Fire and Rescue has joined with the Prineville Eagles #2555 to host a block party rodeo weekend on June 24. Activities include a firefighters brigade, and Air Life. There will be a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. for $5. There will also be a barbecue at noon, and donations are appreciated. At 5:30 p.m., organizers will host a spaghetti dinner for $5. Live music with Sagebrush Rock follows at 7 p.m., and there is no cover charge. For more information, contact Richard or Ronna Willhite at 416-0193.
   A new feature at the fairgrounds this year is Team Karson, which hails from Sevierville, Tenn.
   Team Karson, which features trick rodeo riding around the nation, has Shane and Susie Karson as its co-owners.
   "We just travel around the country with our horses and perform, and they just tagged that name to us," Shane said.
   "We'll be in each performance and I'm not sure if we'll go in three different times or two different times," he said.
   Team Karson has three different acts with which to entertain the crowd.
   "We have what we call trick riding," he said. "We'll each be riding a horse. Gymnastics on horseback I guess is a good explanation for it."
   Another act features bullwhips. Shane said ranchers in Florida and Australia use bullwhips at their properties and "we just show the accuracy of what we can do with a bullwhip."
   For example, he will cut a flower out of his wife's mouth.
   "She'll have moving targets, and I'll have two bullwhips, one for each hand," he added. But Shane is not yet sure whether that particular bullwhip event will take place this weekend at the fairgrounds.
   A third event is Roman riding, which features three horses that are side by side. At one point in the show, he reaches down with a rope to send the third horse out in front of the others.
   "It's kind of like a pyramid then," he said. "I've got one horse under each foot and then him out front."
   "We did our first show in Oregon last week in Sisters and then we'll go to Molalla over the Fourth (of July)," Karson said.
   Saturday is Bi-Mart Night at the Crooked River Roundup. The Spikes and Spurs Golf Tournament begins at 8 a.m. at Meadow Lakes Golf Course. This event is open to the public. The PRCA rodeo performance begins at 7 p.m. There will be a post-rodeo party at the Cinnabar, 121 NE Third Street, which is open to the public and will feature live entertainment.
   Sunday is Credit Union Family Day with Mid Oregon Credit Union and Ochoco Federal Credit Union. The PRCA rodeo performance begins at 2 p.m. and will include Kid's Day events.