HERMISTON — Intermountain Rodeo Team members won four of the 12 events in the
first of their home high school rodeos during a doubleheader weekend, but none more impressively than Garrett Robinson’s tie down roping time.
The Heppner cowboy slayed the competition with a 9.32-second tie to win by nearly a three-second margin. His time came during the slack portion of the rodeo on Saturday morning — right between the first performance on Friday night and the second performance Saturday afternoon at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.
“It’s pretty nerve racking watching everybody (try and beat the time),” Robinson said about idling while a dozen other cowboys tried to best him in Saturday’s main performance. “They’re all my friends so you want them to do good too but at the same time, you really want to stay in the lead.”
No other high schooler came close to his mark, though. Hermiston’s Michael Pederson — a teammate with Robinson — came the closest in the second performance at just over 18 seconds.
Stanfield rider Kaci Kamm had the direct opposite experience on her way to winning the goat tying event. Her score of 8.05 seconds came late in the second performance, but was nearly beaten just two riders later.
She topped Jessie Loper of Prineville by 0.03 seconds for first place.
Kamm tied the goat in one precise motion, which made up for a bit of a stumble on the dismount.
“I thought I was going to fall off,” Kamm laughed.
“It’s just being smooth your whole entire time. When you get off, you’ve got to have your knee bent or you’ll do what I did when I was little and fall on your face every single time.”
Kaci’s older brother, senior Koty, won the boys’ cutting event with a score of 71 on Friday. An all-around cowboy winner in 2010, Kamm struggled in his other events with his best finish coming in the tie down (10th place).
Hermiston senior Callahan Crossley set the bar high in the barrel race, marking at 17.979 seconds in the third run of competition on Friday evening. Not one of the 65 entrants that followed in the slack and second performances could reach her. Crossley finished with the only time under 18 seconds, though a few got close.
Harley Byram of Prineville finished second in 18.047 seconds.
It was a tough rodeo for riders in the bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding events. Six cowboys survived the raucous eight seconds. The bulls especially were looking to toss their riders as Austin Madsen of Sandy notched the only score to win with a 72.
Weston-native Zane Chapman rode one bull ahead of Madsen with the leaderboard still empty. But he said focusing on that fact won’t do you any good when you’re perched atop the beast.
“I try to stay the same. Everything is exactly the same even as I’m getting ready and everything,” he said.
But superstition didn’t bend reality in Chapman’s favor. The Weston-McEwen junior got bucked halfway through the ride, landing less-than tenderly on his left shoulder. A banged-up Chapman was forced to flee the arena, scaling the
fence, with the lumbering brown bull charging behind him.
The second of the Intermountain rodeos also started on Saturday night. The second performance begins today at noon. All-around prizes will be awarded today to contestants based on the two-rodeo aggregate.