Youth deliver at Chelan Jr. Rodeo

Taylor Darling of Chelan participates in the intermediate girls barrels event during the Chelan Jr. Rodeo. (Provided photo/Cindy Wall)


By Cindy Wall
Contributing Writer

There was no shortage of roping, tying, bucking, riding, racing, barreling, pole bending, daubing or whooping and hollering at this year’s Chelan Jr. Rodeo. Nearly 200 young rodeo hopefuls ranging from age 2-years-old to 18 took to 52 various competitions in nine different age categories over the two-day event. And every one of them gave it their all.

The rodeo kicked off Saturday morning with the posting of the colors ushered in by mounted riders carrying the Rustlers Saddle Club, American and Canadian flags respectively. Following the national anthem, children of various ages competed in dummy roping, goat flanking, bull riding, pole bending, barrel racing, calf roping, chute dogging, steer wrestling and a myriad of other rodeo challenges. Many of these dedicated riders competed in multiple events throughout the weekend.

This years’ contestants came from every corner of the state as well as British Columbia and Idaho. Many camped throughout the weekend on the rodeo grounds with their horses and families. For those experienced junior rodeo contestants, Chelan is a familiar site and one among many they hit during the junior rodeo season. But for others, Chelan was their first introduction to a junior rodeo competition.

That was the case for 10-year-old Riley Neilson of Colbert. She’s been training in barrel racing and pole bending before coming to Chelan to compete for the first time in the junior girls’ category. When asked if she was nervous she said, “Not really. Just excited.” She also said she would be returning next year.

Spectators brought their families to watch some or all of the events while grabbing a bite at the cook shack. Kari Gardner of Chelan came with her husband Brandon and three young children. “This was our first time at a junior rodeo and we loved it!” said Gardner. “The kids really liked the barrel racing. But Brandon and I enjoyed the bull riding. It inspired our kids to take horse riding lessons. We are definitely coming back next year.”

Judges are provided by both the Eastern Washington and Caribou Trails Junior Rodeo Associations. Those with the highest scores have a better chance of earning enough points to qualify for year-end awards and potentially compete in other championships.

Cindy Wall is publicity coordinator for the Chelan Rustlers Saddle Club and is a board member at Trusting Spirit Horse Rescue in Orondo.


2019 Chelan Jr. Rodeo

All Round – Final

Little People

Blaise Brewer, Soap Lake

Pee Wee Boys

Karver Peasley, Omak

Pee Wee Girls

Kaedence Loomis, Buena

Junior Girls

Kadee Adams, Omak

Junior Boys

Bodee Gundmunson, Monroe

Intermediate Girls

Bailey Herriman, Cheney

Intermediate Boys (tie)

Duke Hanson, Newman Lake

C.J. Schultz, Ephrata

Senior Girls

Joy Abrahamson, Omak

Senior Boys

Kaiden Palmer, Coulee Dam