The Crooked River Roundup has added a pancake breakfast, professional announcer, and NFR barrel man to the lineup this year

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Chris Cakes Northwest will be serving up a pancake breakfast Saturday morning at the Bank of the Cascades. The event is sponsored by the Central Oregonian.

Shawn Connolly, rodeo chair for the Crooked River Roundup, said that each year, their board looks for new ways to grow the event.

They like to add new stuff and brighten things up a little, he said, and this year is no exception.

Visitors of the 2014 Crooked River Roundup will be treated to a new pancake breakfast as well as an additional rodeo announcer, while the rodeo audience will witness the skills and antics of 2013 NFR Barrel Man John Harrison.

The pancake breakfast, sponsored by the Central Oregonian, will take place prior to the Roundup Parade on Saturday morning at Bank of the Cascades.

“It was something to get the community more involved and give something back to the community before the parade,” Connolly said. “Everything that is made (money) is going back into a local charity.”

The breakfast, hosted by Chris Cakes Northwest, will not look like your typical morning meal. Sheldon Penner, known as “Chief Flipper” for his talents, seeks to turn standard pancake breakfasts into a fun, interactive food experience.

“If humor and warmth nurtures and feeds the mind, body and soul, this dynamic duo of food and humor delivers the perfect power partners to boost trust, spirit and morale,” the Chris Cakes website states. “Your fundraiser should not only be about people standing in line and then following like robots to their assigned table seat, but rather celebrating the joy and laughter of being a kid again.”

New to the rodeo itself will be the addition of professional announcer Marty Campbell. Having enjoyed success in high school and college rodeo before joining the professional ranks, Campbell’s career took a sharp turn after an unfortunate accident ended his days as a saddle bronc rider.

He later found his voice as a rodeo announcer when watching NFR with a group of friends who told him it was like having their own personal announcer. Campbell has announced the Northwest Intercollegiate Rodeo Finals since 2011, the Oregon High School Rodeo Association State Finals and the North American Stock and Saddle Bronc Championship, among others.

“This is my way of giving back to the sport that has given so much to me,” he said.

Connolly said the Roundup board brought in Campbell to help upgrade the quality of announcing for the rodeo viewers. Like past years, announcer Curt Robinson will serve as rodeo announcer from the booth, but this year, Campbell will sit horseback in the arena, enabling the two speakers to work in tandem.

“It will put him right in front of the people and Curt will still be up calling the play-by-play up in the booth,” Connolly said.

The duo will also be called upon to entertain the crowd while people wait for Harrison to prepare for his rodeo clown and barrel act. Connolly called Harrison a “top-quality NFR barrel man” who performs a variety of comedy acts.

“He is actually a really good trick rider,” he continued. “He makes his horse act like he (Harrison) doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. He falls down, gets dragged around, but then when he goes down the straightaway at a high rate of speed, then he pops up and does his trick riding act like he knows what his is doing.”

In addition to the new attractions, the Roundup has added $1,000 to pay contestants this year. The decision proved beneficial, as the rodeo will this year feature a record 349 contestants and world champions in numerous events.

“Every year, we are trying to grow it,” Connolly concluded.

The Crooked River Roundup pancake breakfast will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Bank of the Cascades.

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