Charlie Barker wins all-around title
A lot had been decided by the time the dust settled Saturday night at the Crook County Fairgrounds Indoor Arena.
Saturday night, the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association crowned its year-end champions after the NPRA Finals were held Friday and Saturday in Prineville.
The rodeo, which featured the top 12 individuals in each event, had a solid crowd Friday, then packed the arena Saturday night.
In bareback riding, Kevin Lusk, of Bonney Lake, Washington, held on to win the year-end championship, despite not winning either go round of the finals.
Kirk St. Clair, of Blodgett, Washington, won Friday's opening round with a score of 76 riding Road Rash, while Kyle Bounds, of Harrisburg, was second with a score of 75 aboard Tombstone.
However, Lusk was a solid third with a score of 74. Saturday was another matter as Bounds won the go round with a score of 81 on Roan Ranger, while Eric Nelson, of Corvallis, was second with a score of 76. Brent Bannon, of Prineville, and Lusk tied for third with identical scores of 75.
Bounds went on to win the average but was unable to move up from his third place in the final standings, as Lusk took second in the average and St. Clair finished third.
Danyelle Williams, of Vale, dominated the barrel racing during the finals but was unable to move up past fourth place in the year-end standings.
Williams was second in the first go round, with a time of 15.17, just one hundredth of a second behind go round winner Kayla Nichol, of Cottonwood, Idaho. However, Williams came back to easily win the second go round with a time of 15.03 seconds.
That win, coupled with Nichol failing to place on day two, easily gave Williams the average over Samantha Kerns, of Haines.
Sammi Lane, of Arlington, who did not place in either go round at the finals, held on to win the year-end championship, while Jade Crossley, of Hermiston, finished second, and Teri Bangart, of Olympia, Washington, finished third.
Crossley's second-place finish in the year-end standings helped propel her to the women's all-around championship.
Kerns went on to finish second in the women's all around.
Breakaway roping turned out to be one of the most hotly contested events at the finals. Stevie Rae Willis, of Terrebonne, won the first go round with a time of 2.60. Jordan Minor, of Hermiston, finished second in 2.70, while Shelby Streeter, of Palisades, Washington, finished third in 2.80.
The second go round was won by Redmond's Bailey Beall, who posted a lightning-fast time of 2.00. Rylee Potter, of Weiser, Idaho, and Kerns tied for second with times of 2.40.
Beall won the average with a combined time of 5.20 seconds, while Willis was second.
Minor's second-place finish in the first go round turned out to be very important as she held on to win the year-round championship, with just over $1,000 more in winnings than Beall. Willis finished in third in the event.
Bull riding also went down to the wire as just three riders posted qualified rides during the two-day event.
Zeb Lanham, of Sweet, Idaho, scored 85 points Friday night on Gatlin Gun to win the first go round. Roy Jackson, of Tiller, was second with a score of 80 on Who Da Man. Then on Saturday, Woodburn's Colton Dougherty was the lone rider to post a qualified ride with a score of 85 on Bull Shock.
Dougherty and Lanham tied for the average. Had Dougherty made a qualified ride on Friday or managed a score of 86 on Saturday so that he did not split the average with Lanham, Dougherty would have been the year-end champion.
Instead, Caleb McMillan held on to win the year-end title with total earnings of just $31.44 more than Dougherty.
Cow milking also went down to the wire.
Sam Willis, of Terrebonne, won the first go round with a time of 16.70, while Culver's Charlie Barker was second in 20.80 and Matt Erb, of Roy, Washington, was third in 22.20.
Jack Fischer, of Ellensburg, Washington, won the second go round with a time of 17.30, while Barker finished second and Willis third.
Erb went on to win the average, while Barker was second.
Although he failed to place in either go round, Shane Erickson, of Terrebonne, held on to win the year-end championship, while Willis was second and Barker finished in third.
However, in the end, Barker was the big winner as he took first place in the men's all round championship, while Erickson finished second.
In addition to cow milking, Barker also competed in saddle bronc riding at the finals, and that's where he really shone.
Coming into the finals, Barker has a seemingly insurmountable lead in the event, and that proved to be correct as he wound up winning the year-end title by more than $5,000.
Barker finished third in the first go round with a score of 75, then came back to win the second go round with an 87.
Jake Clark, of Crane, won the first go round with a score of 84. Clark also won the average, while Johnny Espeland, of Pendleton, was second in the average and Barker took third.
Prineville's Sean Santucci used a strong finals performance to move up to first place in the year-end standings in steer wrestling.
Santucci dominated the finals, taking first in the first go round with a time of 4.90 seconds. Santucci then took second in the second go round with an identical time and won the average.
Trevor Maddox, of Weiser, Idaho, who finished second in the year-end standings had a subpar finals, failing to place in either go round or the average.
The first go round of team roping was a tie, with Brayden and Will Schmidt, of Benton City, Washington, and Ryan Opie, of Burns, along with Brent Falon, of Yakima, Washington, posting identical times of 5.20 seconds.
In Saturday's second go round, Jack Fischer, of Ellensburg, Washington, and Phoenix Everano, of Pendleton, won with a time of 4.90 seconds. Tyler Smith, of Middleton, Idaho, and Andy Carlson, of Hermiston, finished second in 5.10 seconds, while Austin and Dayton Stafford, of Prineville, were third in 6.00.
Smith and Carlson went on to win the year-end championship.
Erickson picked up valuable points toward his second-place finish in the all-around with a first go round win in tie-down roping. The Terrebonne cowboy finished with a time of 9.20 seconds, while Brady Brower, of Caldwell, Idaho, took second in 10.20.
Kass Kayser, of Ellensburg, Washington, won the second go round with a time of 8.50, while Jason Minor, of Ellensburg, and Michael Pederson, of Hermiston, tied for second with times of 8.60. Brower went on to win the average with a combined time of 19.50, while Jared Parke, of Gooding, Idaho, took second with a combined time of 21.1.
Erickson easily won the year-end standing in the event, while Bo Pickett, of Caldwell, Idaho, finished second, and Minor took third.
Two other events were also contested at the finals.
Each year, the NPRA hosts a handful of events for novice bareback and saddle bronc riders.
Cooper Wicks, of Enumclaw, Washington, was the lone novice bareback rider this year, taking the championship uncontested.
Dayton Eng, of Stanfield, won the novice saddle bronc riding, while Chase Buchanan, of Powell Butte, finished in second.
The Northwest Professional Rodeo Association is the largest rodeo association in the United States with competitors from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Northern California.