Thousands gathered at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds last weekend to enjoy one of the Mountain Area’s most popular, longest-running traditions.
The 65th Annual Coarsegold Rodeo, from Friday to Sunday, brought together cowboys and cowgirls from across the state to compete for prize money in everything from steer roping to barrel racing.
Among the weekend’s winners were Jake Peterson with a score of 79 in bull riding, Taylor Santos with nine seconds in calf roping, Blake Texeira and Wyatt Hansen in team roping, and Krista Williams with 17.56 seconds in barrel racing, just beating out Julie Martin’s 17.59.
Officials estimated more than 2,500 attended the event and watched the traditional rodeo competitions.
“Although we are still evaluating the income and expenses from this event, we couldn’t be more pleased in the results,” said Kevin Tweed, owner of the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds.
Amelia Giffen of Fresno was crowned Rodeo Queen, alongside Cassidy Cook as Rodeo Princess, Taylor Bigelow as Little Princess, and Tenley Bigelow as Wee Princess.
John S. Payne, known as the One Arm Bandit, also performed his exciting and award-winning horse and bull act on Saturday and Sunday.
John was born to a rancher in the oil rich town of Shidler, Oklahoma on April 19, 1953.
On June 12, 1973, while tearing a house down for his dad and thinking the electricity had been shut off, John climbed an electric pole to cut some wires when 7,200 volts of electricity ran through his entire body for an unbearable 10 seconds. The electricity burnt through his fingers of his right hand, releasing his grip and he fell 25 feet to his death. His flaming clothes had to be put out upon reaching the ground.
After lying dead on the ground for about five minutes, he came to life with his sidekick pounding on his chest and giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Payne was delivered back from the dead, but he was in bad shape. The electricity grounded to the pole through his abdomen, leaving his intestines protruding. The voltage had also burnt his left thigh, as well, exposing his thighbone from his knee several inches up. He couldn’t focus his eyes, he thought he was blind.
The doctors wanted to cut off his left leg but he told them, “I can’t ride a horse with one leg, and if I can’t ride a horse I don’t want to live.” The doctors did, however, cut off his right arm below his shoulder.
After five weeks in the Tulsa burn center, the doctor reported, “No apparent brain damage, but he will be shorthanded.” So John checked himself out and went home to start breaking a horse he had bought while in the hospital. John and Judy Payne are responsible for what is now the most sought after rodeo act in world, The One Arm Bandit Gang.
Another big hit during the rodeo was the Rodeo Flag Team.
Children also competed in the crowd pleasing mutton busting, another popular event, with Edward Wagner winning on Saturday and Rider Bolding winning on Sunday, defending his title from last year. the second consecutive time.
Chloe Ferguson, coach of Minarets High School’s equestrian team and the manager of the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, called the event a complete success.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Michael Steen of Gradyon Kennels.
65th Coarsegold Rodeo Results
☆ 1-Taylor Santos, 9.0
☆ 2-Troy Murray, 9.6
☆ 3-CJ Deforest, 10.0
☆ 4-Blaxe Texeira, 10.4
☆ 1-Lane Wheeler, 6.6
☆ 2-Grant Peterson, 12.7
☆ 1-Kattie Wemple, 2.6
☆ 2-Chanel Reese, 3.1
☆ 3-Rylee George, 3.8*
☆ 1-Krista Williams, 17.56*
☆ 2-Julie Martin, 17.59
☆ 3-Sabrina Andreini, 17.72*
☆ 4-Katrina Dugo, 17.75
☆ 5-Christina Richman, 17.79
☆ 6-Jandee Smart, 17.84
☆ 7-Samantha Hand, 17.91
☆ 8-Auline Harris, 17.98
☆ 8-Ileah Roquemore, 17.98
☆ 1-Blaxe Texeira and Wyatt Hansen, 5.1
☆ 2-Andy Holcomb and CJ Deforest, 5.8
☆ 3-Clayton Biglow and Kent Hirdes, 5.9
☆ 4-Case Hirdes and Cord Forzano, 6.3
Saddle Bronc Riding
☆ 1-Jesse Williams, 74
☆ 2-Dustin Moody, 73
☆ 3-Justin Lawrence, 68
☆ 4-Reed Neely, 63
Bareback Bronc Riding
☆ 1-Casey Meroshnekoff, 69
☆ 1-Jake Peterson, 79
☆ 2-Adam Kamerer, 77
☆ 3-Colby Demo, 76
☆ Saturday winner, Edward Wagner, 90
☆ Sunday winner, Rider Bolding, 97