YAKIMA, Wash. – Ryan Mackenzie has had a tremendous amount of success competing in the Columbia River Circuit, but there was one accomplishment he still hadn’t completed.
While the 29-year-old saddle bronc rider had won the year-end title in 2006 and won many of the top rodeos in the Northwest, he had never won the average at the RAM Columbia River Circuit Finals Rodeo. He finally grabbed that hardware on Nov. 8.
Mackenzie ran away with the average title after scoring 227 points on three head. He was the only man to ride all three horses he mounted, earning the title which had eluded him.
“This is the first time I’ve ever won the average, and it feels pretty good to cross it off the list,” Mackenzie said. “I got on three nice horses, and felt like I was really able to ride well.”
The best of Mackenzie’s three rides came in the third round, when he covered Big Bend Rodeo’s Kool Toddy for 80 points.
When the dust settled, Mackenzie’s consistency was the difference. He tied for fourth in the first round, and then placed second in both of the last two rounds, earning a total of $3,592.
“The circuit system is good for a guy like me because I don’t have the time to rodeo all year long,” said Mackenzie, who helps operate a cattle business with his family in Jordan Valley, Ore. “The circuit system gives me a chance to rodeo close to home, and it also gives kids coming up a chance, too.”
While Mackenzie mostly stays nearby his home, he does occasionally venture outside of the Northwest. He showed that his skills are good enough to beat the big boys in 2014 with a win in Clovis, Calif., and a split for the win in Austin, Texas.
He finished 32nd in the world in both 2010 and 2011, and says that the dream of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo still lives, but the circumstances have to be right.
“I’d like to make it to the NFR, but it depends how a guy draws early in the season,” he said. “If you draw well, you can win anywhere. For someone like me, I have to keep winning to keep going. I go home if I’m not winning early on.”
Mackenzie’s family has had quite a bit of success in the circuit as well. His brother, Sam, won the Columbia River Circuit saddle bronc riding title twice, in 2003 and 2005.
Ryan will head to his fourth RNCFR next March 25-28, and is excited to make the cross-country journey to Kissimmee, Fla.
“It’s really a big deal to get to go the RNCFR, and it’s what you shoot for all year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going to Florida. I never had any real great success at the RNCFR, but the extra money added there now makes it worth going to all your circuit rodeos to get a shot at it, and it’ll help the circuit system.”
Other winners at the $117,645 rodeo were all-around cowboy Shane Erickson ($2,261, tie-down roping and team roping), bareback rider Steven Peebles (246 points on three head), steer wrestler Blake Knowles (11.8 seconds on three head), team ropers Garrett Rogers and Brent Falon (16.8 seconds on three head), tie-down roper Seth Hopper (26.3 seconds on three head), steer roper Joe Bartlett (46.8 seconds on three head), barrel racer Kathy Grimes (37.41 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Allen Helmuth (226 points on three head).
Courtesy of PRCA