Eager rodeo fans packed into the Lewiston Roundup Grounds on Saturday for the final night of the annual tradition that took a hiatus in 2020.
Attendance — 6,278 spectators — was nearly double compared to the total tallied in each of the previous three nights. So many people headed to the Roundup grounds that cars and trucks were reportedly backed up to the traffic circle at Thain Road and Powers Avenue well after the show started.
“It’s not a record but it’s one of our best in a long time,” said Willie Dieble, president of the Roundup Board. “People were ready for some rodeo action after missing 2020, and we worked our hearts out to put on as good a show as we possibly could.”
Once again, few people wore masks to protect themselves and others against the spread of COVID-19.
Saddle Bronc rider Sage Newman was ranked 17th in the world last week. In seven days, he moved up five spots. He’s likely still on the rise. His draw, Lunatic, a bucking horse with a nasty reputation on the rodeo circuit, blasted out of the chutes with three giant, rocking leaps. Newman held on, while spurring the crazy horse with style to score an 84. It was the second best score of the week and the best of the night.
“That’s a big, strong horse,” he said, adding that most cowboys cast Lunatic a sideways glance when they get near. “They don’t get along with him very well. For a lot of guys, he ain’t the funnest horse in the pen.”
Newman did get a little help in the form of some inside information from his traveling partner, who rode Lunatic last week and filled him in on what to expect.
The night began with a tribute to America and those who died 20 years ago during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Roundup also honored the 13 servicemen and women killed in a Kabul bomb attack on Aug. 26. Seats were reserved for each of the fallen and were occupied by American flags, boots and dog tags. Fans stood in honor, most with their hands and hats over their hearts as Roundup announcer Will Rasmussen read each of their names as their pictures appeared on the big screen at the western end of the arena.
“Let us not take one day for granted and let us never let anyone take away the freedom we have,” Rasmussen said. “No matter what you hear on the 6 o’clock news, there is nothing that says we can’t be proud, free Americans.”
Rasmussen saw the winning bareback ride coming.
“This could be good,” he said.
He was right. Shoutin’ Shoes bolted from the chutes, and cowboy Ty Breuer held on for a stellar ride as the horse made giant kicks and bucks. He scored an 85 to win the bareback contest and take second for the week.
“It’s a really nice horse,” Breuer said. “I’ve been waiting to get on him for a really long time. I’ve seen him on about eight trips. He sets up in front of the chutes so you can show off.”
But there were tense and scary moments to follow. Clay Jorgenson of Watford City, S.D., was thrown and possibly kicked or stepped on by Great Nation. Jorgenson was secured to a backboard and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Roundup officials said he may have suffered a broken jaw, and a nursing supervisor at the hospital later said he was in surgery.
After a series of ho-hum times or fast runs that were dinged for breaking the barrier, the breakaway roping race became suddenly tight. Janey Reeves of Melba set a high mark of 3.5 seconds. That was followed by a 3.1 second run by Shelby Logan of Toponas, Colo. It looked like she locked up the contest for the night.
But Celie Salmon of Choteau, Mont., had something to say about it. She had a blazing time of 2.9 seconds, the best of the evening.
Alex Pederson of Clarkston would have had one of the best times of the night in breakaway roping, but her lasso slipped over one of her calf’s front legs, costing her a five-second penalty.
“My curl came around and it just kind of caught that front leg,” Pederson said, discouraged but still smiling. “I thought I had it.”
Reno Stoebner of Stephenville, Texas, and Colton Brittain of Rockwall, Texas, had the best team roping time of the night. Their steer made a tricky turn to the left out of the chute and then put on the breaks. But Stoebner and Brittain handled it with ease.
Lewiston’s Dillon Holyfield and teammate Breck Ward of Jerome would have clocked one of the better times of the night, but Ward’s loop only found one of the steer’s rear legs. That added a five-second penalty to their time. And even though Holyfield successfully roped the animal’s head, he still blamed himself.
“I got a pretty good start and the steer handled pretty good,” he said. “But I could have done better. You try to be as fast as you can. It just didn’t work out.”
Cheyenne Allan of Mabton, Wash., had a blazing speed. The two-time winner of the Pendleton Roundup flew around the first barrel, made a nice turn on the second, wheeled around the third and she and her horse rocketed for home with Allan slapping her ride on the shoulder with her right hand. She crossed the line in 16.95 seconds. Any other year that would be good enough to win the Lewiston Roundup barrels title. But it was three hundredths of a second off the arena record set by Amanda Welsh of Gillette, Wyo., on Friday night with a time of 16.92. Nonetheless Allan won the night and finished second for the week.
Katelyn Hurl of Moscow had a rapid trip around the barrels for the night and the week with an 18 second ride.
Claire Koppel of Lewiston took a spill when her horse lost its footing while rounding the second barrel. Lewiston’s Zayda Carpenter finished in the middle of the pack, but the 16-year-old had nothing but praise for her horse, Cinco.
“I think he is amazing,” she said. “I have a daughter, and he’s going to be an amazing horse for her.”
Carpenter’s father, Paul Carpenter, looked on as she tended to Cinco after her ride.
“I do get a little nervous,” he said of sending Zayda into the arena. “But she does a good job. I’m proud of her.”
The steers proved tougher than the cowboys Saturday night. Only two of them were wrestled to the turf and most were able to shake the cowboys or simply dodge them. Justin Resseman of Colbert, Wash., had the fastest time of the night with a time of 6.5. That was well off the top time of the week.
The tie-down ropers had an off night as well. Jeff Coelho of Echo, Ore., registered the fast time of the night but it was only good for a top 12 on the week and about two seconds off the pace of the winners.
Bull rider Gregory Shannon, of Prineville, Ore., made the bell. But he didn’t stay on Time for Magic any longer than he had too. His ride was good enough for an 81.5, the best of the night, which featured only four riders.
Niah Griffin of Deary was announced as the Lewiston Roundup Queen for 2022. She is joined by princess Loreal Ellenwood of Lapwai and Alli Mortensen of Lewiston.