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Several NFR-experienced athletes take part in Upper County tradition of the Paulina Rodeo

LON AUSTIN - Laura Stahancyk holds on during her ranch bronc run. At right, Reid Otto looks for a landing spot as he loses control during his bull ride.

The 72nd Annual Paulina Rodeo is in the books, and it is a rodeo to remember.

It isn't often that a small town amateur rodeo attracts former National Finals Rodeo performers, but then Paulina isn't just any amateur rodeo.

This year's rodeo had some of the best young talent in the Northwest as well as multiple former NFR performers.

The rodeo, which was held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5, started somberly as riders led four saddled but unridden horses into the arena to honor David Gonzalez, Ralph Foster, Brett Raymond and Don "Red" Cole, all local individuals who had contributed to the rodeo in the past who passed away in 2021.

However, the event soon turned festive as the American flag was paraded onto the rodeo grounds for the national anthem. From then on, the rodeo was action-packed, and filled with excitement. Although the crowd was not quite as large as last year's record breaking crowd, the grandstands were still full during both days of the event.

As is often the case in Paulina, the rodeo was not all about winning. Parents accompanied young barrel racers into the arena and encouraged them as they made some of the first barrel runs of their lives. Grandfathers team-roped with their grandchildren during the local team roping, and dozens of competitors tried their hand at roping during the jackpot event.

And, of course, there was a dance Friday night, as well as a barbecue. All the revenue from the event goes to scholarships for young athletes from the Central Oregon area to help ensure that ranch kids and young cowboys can attend college regardless of their financial situation. Fundrasiers included a 50-50 raffle and an all-terrain vehicle raffle, as well as proceeds from gate receipts and concessions, making this year's rodeo a financial success as well.

Sam Willis of Terrebonne and Dayton Stafford of Prineville shared the all-around cowboy awards, while Sammy Jo Cardoza of Redmond was the all-around cowgirl for 2021.

Tyrel Holmes won the bareback riding while Prineville cowboy Matt Shannon was the saddle bronc winner and Steve Gillen won the ranch bronc riding.

Wyatt Moulton took first in bull riding, while Stafford won the calf roping and Cardoza won the breakaway roping.

Bailey McCracken took first in the open barrel race with Millee McCoin winning the nine-and-under barrels. Makensi Faulkner took first in the 10-14 barrels, while Chad Penhollow and Russell Mathiasen won the wild cow milking competition.

In the local team roping event, Gary Young and Lucas Teskey took first, while Sam Willis and Brian Bain won the open team roping.

Callie Giovanini took first in the kids calf riding while Lane Koch won the sheep riding and Justin England won the kids steer riding.

In the final event of the day, which was contested long after many of the spectators had gone away, Jeanne Gieck and Brandon Beers won the 7 ½ Actra team roping jackpot.

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