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Detached tendon doesn't stop California cowboy from steer wrestling title; sellout crowds fill stands for 85th anniversary

COURTESY PHOTO: HOOT CREEK/ST. PAUL RODEO - For the third time, California cowboy Luke Branquinho wins the steer wrestling at this year's St. Paul Rodeo, with a time of 8.4 seconds on two head.  Luke Branquinho may have detached his hamstring tendon from the bone, but that didn't stop him from winning the 2021 St. Paul Rodeo.

The Los Alamos, California, cowboy and five-time world champion made two solid steer wrestling runs, 4.2 seconds in each of two rounds, to win the average in St. Paul with a time of 8.4 seconds on two head.

He suffered the injury at a rodeo in Weatherford, Texas, in June and took off about three weeks to rehab it. Branquinho is ranked in the top 20 in PRCA world standings and is hoping to put off surgery until after the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December in hopes of competing at the pinnacle of the pro rodeo world for the 15th time in his career.

"As of right now, we'll keep rolling and see how things go," Branquinho said. He said it isn't causing pain and he wraps it tightly before competing.

"This is probably the least number of rodeos I've gone to" over the lucrative Cowboy Christmas, the days preceding and following Independence Day, Branquinho said. He and his traveling partners competed in Livingston, Montana, on July 1; in Cody, Wyoming, and Red Lodge, Montana, on July 2; in St. Paul on July 3; and then in Eugene on July 4.

Branquinho rode one of the best steer wrestling horses in pro rodeo.

 Baby, an American quarter horse whose registered name is Babysgonecountry, is owned by Sam Dixon of Lockesburg, Arkansas. Four cowboys are riding the mount this year: Branquino, Jacob Talley, Justin Shaffer and Tucker Allen, all four traveling partners. In part because of the horse's exceptional ability, Talley finished as reserve champion in St. Paul and is ranked first in the PRCA world standings.

 This is the third St. Paul Rodeo buckle for Branquinho; he also won the rodeo in 2006 and 2015, and won second place at the Livingston, Montana, rodeo.

Zeke Thurston, a two-time PRCA world champion saddle bronc rider, took home the gold from St. Paul with 88 points on the Flying Five Rodeo Co. horse Broken Camp.

 He knew the horse would be a challenge but was ready for it. "That horse really bucks," Thurston said. "She's bucked some guys off, but they won lots on her. I was just lucky to draw her, and lucky to make a good ride on her."

The Big Valley, Alberta, cowboy has only won money once at St. Paul, "so to win it would be amazing.

COURTESY PHOTO: HOOT CREEK/ST. PAUL RODEO - Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alberta, wins the 2021 St. Paul Rodeo saddle bronc riding title. The two-time world champion scored 88 points on Flying Five Rodeo's Broken Camp. Photo by

"This is an iconic, prestigious rodeo. It has some of the best horses and some of the best cowboys at it. It's very unique, with trees in the arena. The crowd is amazing. I'm tickled to death to win it."

The rodeo saw four sold-out performances and record crowds. Opening day, June 30, coincided with the first day that Gov. Kate Brown lifted all COVID restrictions in the state.

Other 2021 St. Paul Rodeo champions include bareback rider Austin Foss, Terrebonne (87.5 points); 2019 world champion tie-down roper Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana (15.9 seconds on two head); bull rider JC Mortensen, Paulden, Arizona (87 points); team ropers Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, Texas, and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil (10.4); and barrel racer Stephanie Fryar, Waco, Texas (17.37).

The 86th St. Paul Rodeo will take place June 30-July 4, 2022. For more information, visit www.StPaulRodeo.com.

 

Results from the 85th St. Paul Rodeo, June 30-July 4, 2021
 

 

All-around champion: Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah

 

Bareback riding champion: Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Oregon

1. Austin Foss, Terrebonne 87.5 points on Flying 5 Rodeo's Cougar Country; 2. Jess Pope, Waverly, Kansas 86; 3. (tie) Jacob Lees, Caldwell, Idaho, and Lane McGehee, Victoria, Texas, 84 each; 5. Wyatt Denny, Minden, Nevada 83; 6. (tie) RC Landingham, Hat Creek, California, and Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho, 82.5 each; 8. (tie) Clayton Biglow, Clements, California, and Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minnesota, 82 each.  

 

Steer wrestling champion: Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, California

1st round

1. Jesse Brown, Baker City, 3.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, California, Tucker Allen, Oak View, California, and JD Struxness, Alva, Oklahoma, 4.2; 5. Dakota Eldridge, Reedley, California, 4.3; 6. (tie) Justin Shaffer, Hallville, Texas, Will Lummus, Byahlia, Mississippi, Mike McGinn, Haines, Oregon, and Jacob Talley, Keatchie, Louisiana, 4.4 each.

 

2nd round

1. Dalton Massey, Hermiston, 3.8 seconds; 2. Dirk Tavenner, Rigby, Idaho, 3.9; 3. (tie) Winsten McGraw, Gill, Colorado, Joe Nelson, Watford City, North Dakota, and Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 4.0 each; 6. (tie) Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, California, and Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, Louisiana, 4.2 each; 8. (tie) Scott Guenthner, Provost, Alberta, and Jacob Talley, Keatchie, Louisiana, 4.4.

 

Average on two head

1. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, California, 8.4 seconds on two head; 2. Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La. 8.8; 3. Jesse Brown, Baker City, 8.9; 4. Payden McIntyre, Douglas, Wyo. 9.0; 5. (tie) Mike McGinn, Haines, Ore. and Will Lummus, Byhalia, Miss. 9.1 each; 7. Justin Shaffer, Hallsville, Texas 9.2; 8. Dirk Tavenner, Rigby, Idaho 9.3.

 

Bull riding champion: JC Mortensen

1. JC Mortensen, Paulden, Arizona, 87 points on Corey and Lange Rodeo's Highway to Hell; 2. Jordan Spears, Redding, California, 86.5; 3. Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah, 86; 4. (tie) Tristen Hutchings, Inkom, Idaho, and Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas, 84 each; 6. (tie) Sage Kimzey, Salado, Texas, and JB Mauney, Stephenville, Texas, 83.5 each; 8. Laramie Mosley, Palestine, Texas, 82.5.

 

Tie-down roping champion: Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana

1st round

1. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 7.8 seconds; 2. (tie) John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, Shad Mayfield, Clovis, New Mexico, and Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas, 8.1 each; 5. Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana, 8.3; 6. (tie) Zack Jongbloed, Iowa, Louisiana, Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, Louisiana, and Ty Harris, San Angelo, Texas, 8.7 each.

 

2nd round

1. Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas 7.5; 2. Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana, 7.6; 3. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 7.8; 4. (tie) Colton Farquer, Oakdale, California, and Quade Hiatt, Canyon, Texas, 8.2 each; 6. (tie) Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Idaho, Brushton Minton, Witter Springs, California, and Reid Zapalac, Smithville, Texas, 8.5 each.

 

Average on two head

1. Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana, 15.9 seconds on two head; 2. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 16.5; 3. John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, 16.9; 4. Quade Hiatt, Canyon, Texas, 17.7; 5. Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas, 17.8; 6. (tie) Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, and Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas, 17.9 each; 8. (tie) Reid Zapalac, Smithville, Texas, and Cody Huber, Albia, Iowa, 18.2 each.

 

Saddle bronc riding champion: Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta

1. Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 88 points on Big Bend Rodeo's Broken Camp; 2. (tie)

Ben Andersen, Rocky Mountain, Alberta, Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, and Jack Bentz, Crane, Oregon, 86.5 each; 5. Ryder Wright, Beaver, Utah, 85.5; 6. Kade Bruno, Challis, Idaho, 84.5; 7. Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alberta, 84; 8. Sam Harper, Paradise Valley, Nevada, 83.5.

 

Team roping champions: Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, Georgia, and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil

1st round

1. Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colorado, 4.6 seconds; 2. Steven Duby, Hereford, Oregon/Andy Carlson, Hermiston, 4.8; 3. Derrick Begay, Winslow, Arizona/Cory Petska, Marana, Arizona, 4.9; 4. (tie) Brenten Hall, Stephenville, Texas/Chase Tryan, Helena, Montana, and Clint Summers, Lake City, Florida/Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas, 5.0 each; 6. (tie) Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, Texas/Junior Nogueira, Lipan, Texas, and Clay Smith, Bowie, Texas/Jade Corkill, Stephenville, Texas, 5.4 each; 8. Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta, 5.5.

 

2nd round

1. Cory Kidd V, Statesville, North Carolina/Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas, 4.2 seconds; 2. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Paul Eaves, Millsap, Texas, 4.3; 3. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tennessee/Joseph Harrison, Marietta, Oklahoma, 4.4; 4. Luke Brown, Morgan Mill, Texas/Hunter Koch, Vernon, Texas, 4.9; 5. Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, Texas/Junior Nogueira, Lipan, Texas, 5.0; 6. Jared Parke, Gooding, Idaho/Jaylen Eldridge, Nampa, Idaho, 5.2; 7. (tie) Jake Graham, Lakeview, Oregon/Calgary Smith, Adams, Oregon; Tate Kirchenschlager, Yuma, Colorado/Cole Davison, Stephenville, Texas; Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta; Andrew Ward, Edmond, Oklahoma/Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, Kansas; Tyler Waters, Stephenville, Texas/Richard Durham, Henrietta, Texas, 5.5 each.

 

Average on two head

1. Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, Texas/Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil,10.4 seconds on two head; 2. Clint Summers, Lake City, Florida/Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas, 10.6; 3. (tie) Brenten Hall, Stephenville, Texas/Chase Tryan, Helena, Montana; Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta, and Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colorado, 11.0 each; 6. Tyler Waters, Stephenville, Texas/Richard Durham, Henrietta, Texas, 11.1; 7. Britt Smith, Broken Bow, Oklahoma/Jake Smith, Broken Bow, Oklahoma, 11.2; 8. Tate Kirchenschlager, Yuma, Colorado/Cole Davison, Roosevelt, Utah, 11.4.

 

Barrel racing champion: Stephanie Fryar, Waco, Texas

1. Stephanie Fryar, Waco, Texas, 17.37 seconds; 2. Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, Texas, 17.51; 3. Shelley Holman, Brentwood, California, 17.57; 4. (tie) Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, Oklahoma, and Jennifer Barrett, Buhl, Idaho, 17.62 each; 6. Jessi Fish, Washington, Texas, 17.70; 7. Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 17.76; 8. Tanya Jones, Arlington, Arizona, 17.78; 9. (tie) Sherry Cervi, Marana, Arizona, and Sidney Forrest, Lipan, Texas, 17.82 each; 11. Katie Pascoe, Morro Bay, California, 17.84; 12. Mary Shae Thomas, Hermiston, 17.85; 13. Paige Jones, Wayne, Oklahoma, 17.89; 14. Bailey Cline, Roseburg, 17.91; 15. (tie) Katie Davis, Adrian, Oregon, and Danyelle Williams, Vale, Oregon, 17.94. each.

 

** All results are unofficial. For more information, visit www.StPaulRodeo.com.

 


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