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Monday, July 25, 2011

Gate closes on 101st California Rodeo Salinas

Gate closes on 101st California Rodeo Salinas
Oakdale's Ryle Smith takes All-Around cowboy title at Salinas arena

The second hundred years of the California Rodeo Salinas picked up where the first hundred left off as the professional cowboys rode out of town following Sunday's final day of year No. 101.

Three mostly windy, foggy and chilly days and nights ended with a sunny blue sky in the short-round of the rodeo at the Salinas Sports Complex where riders and ropers who turned in the top 12 scores and times from the previous three days competed for the big bucks and prized buckles.

Ryle Smith, a tie-down (calf roping) and steer wrestler from Oakdale was the All-Around Cowboy champion.

The feature event of the four-day rodeo was captured by bull rider A.J. Hamre. He followed an 83 in the long round with an 87 in Sunday's short round for a winning score of 170.

The prize money is nice — anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 — but Hamre, 30, seemed just as excited to know he is now the proud owner of a California Rodeo Salinas belt buckle.

"I'm going to wear it every day," Hamre said. "That's a highly coveted buckle. Everybody in this business wants one — including myself."

It was a rewarding end to what has been a rough and tough week for the bull rider from Chico.

"I rode in Salt Lake City and Nampa, but it wasn't any good back there," Hamre said. "This will make up for it."

Adding to Hamre's satisfaction was the fact that the bull he rode to victory Sunday — Due North — bucked him off earlier this year.

"I really had it set in my mind I wanted to get revenge," he said.

Only four of the 11 bull riders lasted the mandatory eight seconds Sunday.

Among those who were tossed was Clayton Foltyn, who was trying to become the first of a father-son combination to win a bull riding title here — his dad won it in 1985 — and Corey Navarre, who brought the top score into the final round at 84.

Shane Proctor, of Grand Coulee, Wash., ranked No. 1 in the world, placed second at 168; Nick Sartor of Mira Loma took third at 164.
Saddle bronc

At the rate things are going Wade Sundell might be made an honorary Wright brother.

"I think he'd rather be Wade Sundell," said Cody Wright, ranked No. 2 in the world with winnings of more than $70,000.

Excuse Sundell if he thought he was a Wright, considering three of the seven brothers were in Sunday's short round.

Four of the seven Wright brothers competed in the Salinas rodeo with Jake, Jesse and Cody all reaching the final round.

And as it turned out, Sundell tied with Cody Wright for the championship with a two-ride total of 168.

"What are they going to do now, cut the buckle in half?" Sundell joked. Jake Wright took third at 165.

About 24 hours earlier Sundell won the Nampa, Idaho, saddle bronc title, beating out runner-up Cody Wright in the process.

Kayee Feild, whose father Lewis Feild is in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame — he was a three-time All-Around and two-time bareback world champion — kept the familytradition going strong with a winning ride in bareback.

Feild, of Payson, Utah, began the day tied for the lead with former world champion Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., with a score of 83.

Combined with his short-round score of 85, Feild won the event with a 168 — three points better than Mote and Matt Bright, who tied for second at 165.

"This is a tough rodeo to win," said Feild. "There are a lot of good riders here."
Timed events

Dane Hanna of Berthold, N.D., won the steer wrestling title with an aggregate time of 21.80 seconds. Olin Hannah of Malad, Id., was second at 22.60.

In team roping, the duo of Jay Adams and Randon Adams of Logandale, Nev., had a winning aggregate clocking of 43.40 seconds.

The tie-down champion was Cimarron Boardman of Stephenville, Tex, at 31.8 seconds.

Christina Richman of Glendora defended her California Rodeo Salinas crown in barrel racing, beating five-time Salinas champion Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz. — 63.77 seconds to 63.96 seconds.

Evan Allard was the freestyle bull fighting champion.

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