St. Paul, Ore. – 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, Calif. cowboy, a 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 had suffered the hamstring tendon injury at a rodeo in Weatherford, Texas in June and took off about three weeks to rehab it. But there’s no time for surgery, with Branquinho ranked in the top twenty in PRCA world standings, so he’s rehabbing and stretching it, 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 fifteenth time in his career.
“As of right now, we’ll keep rolling and see how things go,” he said. It isn’t causing any pain, and he wraps it tight before competing.
For Branquinho, in part because of the hamstring tendon detachment, he’s rodeoed less this Cowboy Christmas than any of the last 21 years of his career.
“This is probably the least number of rodeos I’ve gone to” over the lucrative Cowboy Christmas, the days preceding and following Independence Day, he said. He and his traveling partners competed at Livingston, Mont. on July 1, in Cody, Wyo. and Red Lodge, Mont. on July 2, in St. Paul on July 3, then in Eugene, Ore. on July 4.
He was aboard 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. He also won second place at the Livingston, Mont. rodeo on July 4.
In the saddle bronc riding, another world champion took home the gold from St. Paul.
Zeke Thurston, the two-time PRCA world champion saddle bronc rider, won St. Paul with 88 points on the Flying Five Rodeo Co. horse Broken Camp.
He knew the horse would be a challenge but he was ready for it. “That horse really bucks,” he 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.
“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 sell-out performances and record crowds. Its opening day, June 30, coincided with the first day that Governor Kate Brown lifted all Covid restrictions in the state.
Other 2021 St. Paul Rodeo champions include bareback rider Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore. (87.5 points); 2019 world champion tie-down roper Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont. (15.9 seconds on two head); bull rider JC Mortensen, Paulden, Ariz. (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, Ore. 87.5 points on Flying 5 Rodeo’s Cougar Country; 2. Jess Pope, Waverly, Kan. 86; 3. (tie) Jacob Lees, Caldwell, Idaho and Lane McGehee, Victoria, Texas 84 each; 5. Wyatt Denny, Minden, Nev. 83; 6. (tie) RC Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif. and Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho 82.5 each; 8. (tie) Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif. and Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn. 82 each.
Steer wrestling champion: Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, California
1. Jesse Brown, Baker City, Ore. 3.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., Tucker Allen, Oak View, Calif., and JD Struxness, Alva, Okla. 4.2; 5. Dakota Eldridge, Reedley, Calif. 4.3; 6. (tie) Justin Shaffer, Hallville, Texas, Will Lummus, Byahlia, Miss., Mike McGinn, Haines, Ore. and Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La. 4.4 each.
1. Dalton Massey, Hermiston, Ore. 3.8 seconds; 2. Dirk Tavenner, Rigby, Idaho 3.9; 3. (tie) Winsten McGraw, Gill, Colo., Joe Nelson, Watford City, N.D. and Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii., 4.0 each; 6. (tie) Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif. and Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La. 4.2 each; 8. (tie) Scott Guenthner, Provost, Alb. and Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La. 4.4.
Average on two head
1. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif. 8.4 seconds on two head; 2. Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La. 8.8; 3. Jesse Brown, Baker City, Ore. 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, Ariz. 87 points on Corey and Lange Rodeo’s Highway to Hell; 2. Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif. 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
1. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas 7.8 seconds; 2. (tie) John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, Shad Mayfield, Clovis, N.M. and Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas 8.1 each; 5. Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont. 8.3; 6. (tie) Zack Jongbloed, Iowa, La., Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La. and Ty Harris, San Angelo, Texas 8.7 each.
1. Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas 7.5; 2. Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont. 7.6; 3. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho 7.8; 4. (tie) Colton Farquer, Oakdale, Calif. and Quade Hiatt, Canyon, Texas 8.2 each; 6. (tie) Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Idaho, Brushton Minton, Witter Springs, Calif. and Reid Zapalac, Smithville, Texas 8.5 each.
Average on two head
1. Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont. 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, Alb. 88 points on Big Bend Rodeo’s Broken Camp; 2. (tie) Ben Andersen, Rocky Mountain, Alb.; Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah and Jack Bentz, Crane, Ore. 86.5 each; 5. Ryder Wright, Beaver, Utah 85.5; 6. Kade Bruno, Challis, Idaho 84.5; 7. Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alb. 84; 8. Sam Harper, Paradise Valley, Nev. 83.5.
Team roping Champions: Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, Georgia and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil
1. Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colo. 4.6 seconds; 2. Steven Duby, Hereford, Ore./Andy Carlson, Hermiston, Ore. 4.8; 3. Derrick Begay, Winslow, Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz. 4.9; 4. (tie) Brenten Hall, Stephenville, Texas/Chase Tryan, Helena, Mont. and Clint Summers, Lake City, Fla./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, Alb. 5.5.
1. Cory Kidd V, Statesville, N.C./Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas 4.2 seconds; 2. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Paul Eaves, Millsap, Texas 4.3; 3. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Joseph Harrison, Marietta, Okla. 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, Ore./Calgary Smith, Adams, Ore.; Tate Kirchenschlager, Yuma, Colo./Cole Davison, Stephenville, Texas; Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alb.; Andrew Ward, Edmond, Okla./Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, Kan.; 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, Fla./Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas 10.6; 3. (tie) Brenten Hall, Stephenville, Texas/Chase Tryan, Helena, Mont; Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alb. and Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colo. 11.0 each; 6. Tyler Waters, Stephenville, Texas/Richard Durham, Henrietta, Texas 11.1; 7. Britt Smith, Broken Bow, Okla./Jake Smith, Broken Bow, Okla. 11.2; 8. Tate Kirchenschlager, Yuma, Colo./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, Calif. 17.57; 4. (tie) Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, Okla. 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, Ariz. 17.78; 9. (tie) Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz. and Sidney Forrest, Lipan, Texas 17.82 each; 11. Katie Pascoe, Morro Bay, Calif. 17.84; 12. Mary Shae Thomas, Hermiston, Ore. 17.85; 13. Paige Jones, Wayne, Okla. 17.89; 14. Bailey Cline, Roseburg, Ore. 17.91; 15. (tie) Katie Davis, Adrian, Ore. and Danyelle Williams, Vale, Ore. 17.94. each.