by Jim Bainbridge | Jul 02, 2015
By Ruth Nicolaus/for the St. Paul Rodeo committee
ST. PAUL, Ore. – The temperature was in the upper 90s at the first night of the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo July 1, but the crowds braved the heat and were rewarded with exceptional rodeo competition.
Bareback rider Josi Young, a 2008 qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, set the lead in his event with a score of 84 points in the first event of the evening.
The Buhl, Idaho cowboy rode Big Stone Rodeo’s Gold Dust for that score, and he was delighted when he found out what horse he drew. Gold Dust “was one of the three horses I wanted (to draw),” he said.
“That horse wasn’t easy. I knew if I could make a good ride on her, we could win a good check out of here.”
Young rides left-handed, which made the horse even harder to ride. “She circles to the right,” Young said, “so she always turns you out on your left side. I just kept setting my feet, just trying to get back to (be) square. One jump at a time, as they say. Literally, that’s the way I had to do it on her, just keep re-setting my feet.”
He knows his score of 84 may not win first place, but it should earn a check.
It’s not typical that a cowboy competes in more than one event, and especially in a roughstock event and a timed event, but Young does. In addition to bareback riding, he team ropes. He grew up with a rope in his hand, but his dad, Mickey Young, was an 11-time NFR bareback riding qualifier.
“It’s in my blood,” he said of the bareback riding, noting that it’s easier to rodeo as a bareback rider than a team roper; there’s no need to haul a roping horse, the bareback riding usually pays out more, and travel expenses can be shared among several cowboys.
“But team roping is a passion and I’m not beat up all the time.”
Young just team roped at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo (where he also rode barebacks) and the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping, and he’s taking a break from team roping.
“I sent my horses home for a couple of months because I’m entered pretty hard in the bareback riding, and it’s hard to work both ends of the arena.”
Bareback riding is a young man’s sport, and he is taking advantage of his youth.
“I’m focusing on my bareback riding more right now, because I can’t do it when I’m 40. I say that, but (four time World Champion Bareback Rider) Bobby Mote is almost there.”
He finished second in the bareback riding in St. Paul a few years ago, and placed in the team roping as well, and he’s ready for another check, or hopefully the gold buckle.
Other leaders at the St. Paul Rodeo include steer wrestler Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos,Calif., who is leading both go-rounds (4.0 seconds in the first go-round and 4.8 in the second), and tie-down ropers Joe Keating, Sour Lake, Ore., in the first go-round (9.2 seconds) and Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif., in the second go-round (8.8 seconds). The first round of team roping went to Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz., and Clay O’Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev. (4.8 seconds), and the second round to Jake Stanley, Hermiston, Ore., and Taylor Justin Duby, Homedale, Ida. (5.1 seconds). The saddle bronc riding leader is Taygen Schuelke, Newell, S.D. (84 points). The leader in the barrel racing is Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas (16.57 seconds), and the bull riding leader is Tanner Learmont, Cleburne, Texas (80 points).
The second of five performances takes place July 2 at 7:30 p.m., followed by performances on July 3 and 4, and a 1:30 p.m. matinee on July 4. July Fourth festivities also include a parade at 10 a.m. and the Great Western Barbecue Cook-off at 11 p.m. The Tackroom Saloon, voted one of the twenty best cowboy bars in the west, is open each day, July 2-4. Rodeo tickets are available through the rodeo’s website at www.StPaulRodeo.com and at the gate.
Courtesy of PRCA