Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo brings thrills, changing of the guard

Quail Run bites the dust

By Steve Tool

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on July 3, 2018 9:00AM

Megan Cobb won the ladies’ steer roping in the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. A larger than usual crowded attended the event at the Harley Tucker Memorial Arena.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Megan Cobb won the ladies’ steer roping in the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. A larger than usual crowded attended the event at the Harley Tucker Memorial Arena.

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Matthew Staigle had the ride of his life on this big gray bronc during Saturday’s Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo in Joseph.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Matthew Staigle had the ride of his life on this big gray bronc during Saturday’s Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo in Joseph.

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A member of the Rudy’s Smiling M Ranch Rodeo team takes a throw at the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. The team defeated the three-time champion Quail Run Ranch team, led by Barrie Qualle. Rudy’s Smiling M Ranch team won the team branding, doctoring and roping events.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

A member of the Rudy’s Smiling M Ranch Rodeo team takes a throw at the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. The team defeated the three-time champion Quail Run Ranch team, led by Barrie Qualle. Rudy’s Smiling M Ranch team won the team branding, doctoring and roping events.

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Atticus Powers waits with his mother, Dr. Elizabeth Powers, for the start of the stick horse races during the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Atticus Powers waits with his mother, Dr. Elizabeth Powers, for the start of the stick horse races during the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo.

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Tyler Osborn from Pendleton hangs onto his rope on his way to a 69-point ride and second place in Chief Joseph Days Ranch Bronc Riding.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Tyler Osborn from Pendleton hangs onto his rope on his way to a 69-point ride and second place in Chief Joseph Days Ranch Bronc Riding.

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Dan and Wyatt Warnock of Warnock Ranch watch in dismay as two extra steers squirt past them in the Steer Sorting event at the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. The two fleet-footed bovines meant disqualification from the event for the ranch team.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Dan and Wyatt Warnock of Warnock Ranch watch in dismay as two extra steers squirt past them in the Steer Sorting event at the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo. The two fleet-footed bovines meant disqualification from the event for the ranch team.

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Members of the Tamarack Ranch calf roping team make the chase during the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo.

Ellen Bishop/For the Chieftain

Members of the Tamarack Ranch calf roping team make the chase during the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo.

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The 2018 Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo did not disappoint this year’s crowd, which appeared to be a record-breaker at the Harley Tucker Memorial Arena. The ranch rodeo is the kick-off event for the CJD Rodeo, an event sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

The difference: While the main rodeo features professional rodeo athletes from all over the country, the ranch rodeo stays truer to cowboy tradition by featuring real traditional duties of everyday working cowboys and cowgirls.

These contestants aren’t packing up and heading to the next rodeo after the performance; they head back to the ranch to continue their work-a-day lives.

Events included team doctoring, team branding, ranch bronc riding, free-range roping, team sorting, ladies’ steer roping and team roping. A dozen teams participated.

The sun was warm and the arena dusty for this year’s event. Last year it poured rain.

Watching the ghost images of horses, cattle and riders flitting in and out of clouds of dust, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the unbroken line from these modern-day cowboys back to the old traditions of the buckaroo.

The biggest surprise of the event saw the three consecutive championships of the Quail Run Ranch team, led by Barrie Qualle, come to an end at the hands of the Rudy’s Smiling M Ranch team, who won the team branding, doctoring and roping events.

“It was a long tumble,” Qualle said with a smile after the rodeo. “These young guys are getting tougher.”

The Circle P Ranch finished second and Yost Quarter Horses took third.

Shawn Morehead, of La Grande, led the Smiling M team and also walked away with the Jim Probert Top Hand Award, which netted him a pair of spurs. Also on the team were Bo Patzke and Damion Patton. Probert competed three times in the rodeo in the past while Patzke and Patton said it was their inaugural rodeo.

The latter two reside in Pendleton and Enterprise respectively.

All three said team practices are rare, and it was blind luck that they got together as a team. They intend to compete next year, and each team member thanked Qualle for their win. The team earned $2,040 to split and a belt buckle each.

Karen Raminha, who purchased the team, walked away with a $1,681 check.

“It’s more money than I spent,” she said. “I guess I’m real happy.”

Local cowboy Wyatt Warnock won the ranch bronc riding, edging out Tyler Osborn, 70-69.

“They were pretty nice horses,” Warnock said. Asked how he practices, Warnock replied, “I’ve got some horses of my own that buck a little bit.”

Although Megan Cobb won the ladies’ steer roping, local cowgirl Anna Grandi got the nod for Best Cowgirl. She said she’s competed in the rodeo a number of times and this was her second win.

“This is better than the first one,” she said. “This time I got a pair of new spurs.”

The Chief Joseph Days main rodeo is July 24-28.













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