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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


1. Behind a pitcher, batter and coach recognized by Class 5A coaches as the best at their level, the Pendleton Buckaroos softball team rolled to its first state softball championship in June.

The Bucks, who finished 23-7 and outscored their five postseason opponents 40-3, beat Silverton 6-1 at the Oregon State Softball Complex in Corvallis on June 2. It was the school’s first state title since the boys’ basketball team won one in 1939.


 
 
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


I started this job at the beginning of October last fall. The Pendleton Round-Up was just far enough in the rearview mirror that this town had shaken off its rodeo hangover (mostly) and returned to normal (again, mostly).

So it took a full year for me to finally see cattle and cowboys on the grass of the Round-Up Arena instead of high school Buckaroos.

 
 
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Trevor Brazile won the Pendleton Round-Up all-around title. (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Trevor Brazile earned the nickname “King of the Cowboys” for a reason. The 16-time PRCA world champion flashed his crown to the peasants Saturday, taking the all-around title at the 102nd Pendleton Round-Up in regal fashion.

But Brazile nearly missed Saturday’s short-go final round.

Brazile roped in Abilene, Texas, on Friday and was flying back to the Northwest for the Round-Up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday. But just over Utah, things got a little rocky.

The pilot turned around to address his passengers in the small plane, relaying a message he could keep to himself no longer. Something was wrong, he said. They would need to land.


 
 
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Christy Loflin won the Round-Up barrel racing title. (Photo by Joe Tierney)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — When Christy Loflin ran her horse in the Pendleton Round-Up Arena pattern Monday, during the first slack performance of the week, she felt a little overwhelmed. It was the first time she was seeing something like the Pendleton monster cloverleaf.

“I had no idea. You hear rumors and you hear stories and you kind of have to decipher all of that,” Loflin said. “I’d heard of it; I’d just been to scared to come.”

She finished that run in 28.84 seconds. On Saturday, Loflin did one better. She ran a 28.80-second pattern and then won the overall title.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Bobby Mote has conquered plenty of broncs in his 16-year career, a fair share of them in the Pendleton Round-Up Arena even. He’s had rides in the high 80s and he’s had buck-offs here, but the one thing that’s always avoided his grasp has been the championship saddle.

“It’s been a good rodeo for me, but I’ve never won it,” the Culver cowboy said. “I’ve won second like two or three times just by a point or something. It’s one of my tops on my list as something I’d like to win.”


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Multi-event cowboys aren’t uncommon in rodeo. Winning an all-around title is almost impossible without winning a little money in two or three events, combining different skills to create the top overall contestant.

But rarely has one rider or roper combined events like Francis Marchand this did week at the Pendleton Round-Up. His performance from Thursday in likely the most dangerous event, bull riding, came right in the middle of several runs in the most unpredictable of events: the Indian relay races.


 
 
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Parker Breding hits the chutes after his bull ride at the Round-Up. (Photo by Joe Tierney)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up Arena blurred by in front of Parker Breding’s eyes. Flashes of the open green pasture melded into hundreds of cheering faces before the cycle repeated itself.

The 20-year-old cowboy was trapped in a cyclone, his bull twirling fiercely. Though the world spun out of control, Breding kept his focus, spurring the animal onward. As the eight-second horn sounded the end of his ride Thursday, Breding sprung for freedom.

“That bull was spinning real fast and when I turned to go I was kind of facing the crowd but by the time I actually left him I was spinning so fast he flung me right into the chutes,” the Edgar, Mont., native said. “Nose first into the chute I guess; I busted my nose pretty good. But pain goes away when you’re winning.”


 
 
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Andy Easterly takes down his stock during steer wrestling at the Pendleton Round-Up. (Photo by Damian Mulinix)














By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up all-around cowboy designation is shaping up to be a two-horse race — or two-cowboy rather — with half of the historic rodeo now in the books.

Trevor Brazile, the nine-time PRCA World All-Around Champion and 21-time winner of individual rodeo all-around titles this year is currently trailing Russell Cardoza. The Terrebonne cowboy is up in the money with $5,304.78 earned already to Brazile’s $4,053.43.


 
 
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Cody Ford watches the Round-Up from the stands. (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Ten rows above the Round-Up Arena floor, where two dozen men were willingly putting themselves in danger on the backs of burly bulls Wednesday, Cody Ford remained in his seat. He didn’t cheer with the crowd, not adding a sound to the cacophony erupting around him.

He just sat and watched, wishing the danger was his.

“It wasn’t fun,” said Ford, a 23-year old bull rider from Hermiston. “I guess it was good to see my buddies ride, though.”


 
 
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Colby Reilly puts up an 87.5-point ride. (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Brady Sims lowered himself down into the chute, straddling a nasty beast called Down N Out. He’d just watched Emilio Resende take the lead minutes earlier with an 87-point ride.

An 87. That was more than Sims’ first ride, the 85.5 points that bought him a spot in the final round of the PBR Classic on Monday in Happy Canyon Arena. He’d have to do better than that. Buck harder, hold tighter, stay longer.

He’d have to do better.

Eight seconds and countless beats of his racing heart later Sims was finally free to open his hand. He was done with Down N Out and he had 88 points to show for it.

Sims won the average on two bulls Monday with a total score of 173.5. But the victory was in doubt as he watched Mike Lee of Decatur, Texas, take to the arena two bulls later.