The Sisters Rodeo action was outstanding, as was the weather and the stock. photo by Jerry Baldock
The Sisters Rodeo action was outstanding, as was the weather and the stock. photo by Jerry Baldock
An 18-year-old Sisters Rodeo arena record bit the dust Saturday night as barrel racer Meka Farr of Honeyville, Utah, made a 17.29-second run, supplanting a record previously set in 2001 at 17.34 by Amy Dale Coelho from Echo, Oregon.

The Rodeo also set some organizational records, selling out multiple performances.

“We have never sold out a Sunday performance, but we did yesterday,” Rodeo board of directors member Bonnie Malone told The Nugget on Monday morning. “In fact, we sold it out mid-way through Saturday night.”

Perhaps the most satisfying record of all was the more than $15,000 raised on Sunday for Sara’s Project (formerly Sara Fisher Project) for breast cancer awareness. Each year, the Sisters Rodeo raises funds for the St. Charles Foundation’s project, usually pulling in some $8,000 to $9,000. This year, Malone described an extraordinary act of giving.

The Rodeo framed two editions of this year’s poster, which were signed by the cowboys competing in the Rodeo. One poster was auctioned for $4,800, with the runner-up agreeing to match that number to attain the second poster. Then, Malone reported, an audience member approached a Rodeo volunteer in the stands and contacted Malone with a pledge to match that amount yet again – with no reward other than the act itself.

Additional funds were raised by “passing the bucket” to push the total over $15,000.

Rodeo volunteer Diane Prescott, profiled in the June 5 edition of The Nugget, proclaimed the 2019 Rodeo “the best ever.”

The turn in the weather from bone-cold on Friday night to near-perfect for Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon made for happy crowds in the packed stands. And, like many others, Prescott was impressed by the quality of the animals that make rodeo a contest.

“You couldn’t ask for better bucking stock,” Prescott said. “Mike Corey is quite the (stock) contractor. We’re really lucky to have him.”

Volunteer Bonnie Knox concurred.

“The stock was just beyond good,” she said. “Bulls won almost every (performance). A few cowboys did get some really good rides, but a lot of the bulls dumped their riders in three or four seconds. They were really tough.”

Both Prescott and Knox made special mention of the people in the arena who make the Rodeo exciting — but aren’t contestants. Prescott says she loves watching the pickup men work. The pickup riders come alongside the bucking stock to take a rider off and/or to secure a horse after a ride. They often help the bullfighters haze a bull back out of the arena after a ride. Their horsemanship has to be top-notch.

Knox was particularly proud of Queen Riann Cornett.

“I thought our queen did a magnificent job,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody do the flag entry as good as she did.”

Long-time Sisters Rodeo President Glenn Miller, who suffered a serious medical crisis earlier this year, was able to make it out for the Sunday performance, which gladdened the hearts of everyone from Rodeo volunteers to long-time contractors and contestants who know him well. Miller had family in town to share the moment with him.

“He was very happy, but he couldn’t stay to the end because it was exhausting,” Malone told The Nugget. “That was really special, to have him be able to come out and see some rodeo… I know he was really grateful to see everyone and get their wishes.”

The Sisters Rodeo consistently offers the biggest purse on its weekend, which draws top competitors to town. That, combined with top-quality stock, combine for Rodeo action that is as good as can be found anywhere at any time, including the National Finals Rodeo. In fact, rodeo fans are assured of seeing Sisters competitors and stock finish out the year in the NFR in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Taos Muncy of Corona, New Mexico, turned in a highlight 86-point saddle bronc ride to earn $4,173.60. Bareback rider Tilden Hooper    of Carthage, Texas, spurred to an 87-point ride worth $4,645.95; while team ropers Dustin Bird of Cut Bank, Montana and Trey Yates of Pueblo, Colorado made a fast 5.2-second run to earn $4,241.75 apiece. Steer wrestler Mike McGinn aggregated $5,112.23 in winnings.

Those efforts represent just some of the outstanding performances at the Sisters Rodeo, which continues to earn its billing as The Biggest Little Show in the World.