photo by Jerry Baldock
photo by Jerry Baldock
Sisters Rodeo has a reputation for being among the best rodeos in the nation, not just for the quality of competition, but because of the professional crews that keep the action fast-paced, the entertainment unbeatable and a setting of beauty that can’t be surpassed.

This year, the rodeo will be hosting RFD television, which will be filming the rodeo for four segments of national promotion. The filming will highlight the rodeo, the city, personalities and history.

“We are very excited about the potential publicity and excitement that this will bring to Central Oregon and our rodeo,” said board member Patty Cordoni, who found enthusiastic support from Central Oregon Visitors Association and the City of Sisters for this production.

While Rodeo President Glenn Miller has been recuperating from life-threatening illness, the rodeo membership has been determined to successfully produce The Biggest Little Show in the World.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” Vice President Frank Jacobsen quipped. “Thanks to Mother Nature, we got off to a later start than usual this year, but with a lot of hard work and determination, we are ahead of the game at this point. That just shows how amazing our all-volunteer organization is.” See related story, page 3.

“With the absence of our fearless leader, everyone just stepped up and did what needed to be done,” he added. “It is an honor to be associated with such a great group of people.”

Behind the scenes, the reputation of this rodeo having non-stop action is a result of several factors. Foremost is the livestock contractor’s crew of fine-tuned professionals, who keep the action rolling as a well-oiled machine with skilled transfer of livestock for each event.

Corey and Lange Stock Contractors are really excited about the livestock they are bringing this year, with Mike Corey stating that “this is the best group of animals I have ever owned.”

John Leavitt heads a crew of seasoned volunteers who also keep the animals rotating from next-up to exiting the arena. Leavitt has been the arena director for decades and he has accumulated a savvy crew over the years that rarely need direction in their respective assignments.

In the arena, rodeo is led by a great team of announcers in Wayne Brooks, four-time PRCA Announcer of the Year, and Curt Robinson, a walking encyclopedia of rodeo statistics and history who has been with Sisters Rodeo for 24 years.

With Brooks on horseback in the arena and Robinson in the announcers stand, fans hear details of what made a ride so good or why a contestant didn’t score as the fans expected, using instant replay on the big screen to demonstrate the reasons why judges score as they do.

As an important factor in the action, Jason Buchanan has the knack for picking the right music for every event and every competitor. He has a catalogue of music that spans country, rock and hip hop, whatever fits the circumstance, as he pulls magic out of his bag of musical tricks.

In the arena and even sometimes in the stands, JJ Harrison, clown and barrel man, is a prize as an entertainer. With Buchanan, his long-time friend, JJ can play off any action that happens in the arena and make his impulsive responses enrich the fun for the fans in the stands. He is another reason that there is no lag in action in this fan experience. When this powerball of energy is on the scene, there is not a moment wasted.

There is a change in the bullfighting personnel this year, after 25-year veteran Rowdy Barry retired. His favorite partner in the arena, Dan Newman, returns as Sisters bullfighter veteran, a consummate professional charged with protecting riders from intractable bulls. He is joined by Ryan Manning (son of Rowdy Barry) and Logan Blasdell.

A highlight at all five performances, including Xtreme Bulls, The One Arm Bandit will thrill the crowd with feats of horsemanship, dog training and herding skill, moving a zebra and paint horses around the arena before they are driven onto a flat-bed truck, up a ramp and onto the top of a long stock trailer.

This record-breaking PRCA Specialty Act of the Year has taken Payne and his animals all over the world, with spectators talking about the act for years afterward.

Sisters Rodeo will begin June 5 with Xtreme Bulls, followed by four rodeo performances June 7-9. For tickets and information go to or call the ticket hotline at 541-549-0121 or 1-800-827-7522. The ticket office is located at 220 W. Cascade Ave. in Sisters.