LONG BEACH — The July 29-30 Long Beach Rodeo at Peninsula Saddle Club drew hundreds of Northwest Professional Rodeo Association competitors and crammed the bleachers with fans.
After a pancake breakfast in the morning, Saturday afternoon’s action started off with opening ceremonies.
Latigo ‘N Lace, the highly decorated women’s equestrian drill team based in Battle Creek entertained the crowd. The sixteen horses and their riders stayed synchronized for a long series of complex routines. One moment, the horses would spread out and fill the whole arena, and the next they were jammed together, on each other’s heels circling in impossibly tight formation. Two lines of horses crossed paths at high speed in the “suicide cross.”
This year’s rodeo queen was Katie Glasson, 15, of Long Beach, a longtime youth rodeo competitor who has attended Long Beach Rodeos since age five. She seemed to revel in the ceremonial role, waving to the crowd as she sprinted out on her horse, KC.
“I’ve always hoped someday I would (be rodeo queen),” she said. “I was really excited when I found out.” Glasson had to prepare for the occasion; a rodeo queen’s outfit must be regal, but fit for riding a horse. “I had to get chaps (flared leggings) and fancy stuff to wear,” said Glasson, who also sported a shiny metal belt.
Reece Pierson carried out the American flag for the national anthem. She rode in at a very slow trot, which matched the mood as light-hearted announcer Lee Daggett became serious and patriotic.
Cody Ford, a professional bull rider from Hermiston, Oregon, who is ranked 74th on the Professional Bull Riders tour, rode on Saturday and had the weekend’s top score in the event. Daggett created hype and buildup for Ford (“perhaps you’ve seen him on ESPN!”) Ford lived up to the billing, staying on a spinning bull. The ferocious creature’s efforts helped earn Ford a score of 82 on a 100-point scale, which is based half on how hard the bull makes things and half on things the rider does.
Saturday evening was family night, when kids competed in arena games. Sunday saw a similar schedule, minus the family night, and with some events going during the breakfast. For truly dedicated fans, the rodeo filled the whole weekend.
The animals proved themselves worthy opponents. In saddle bronc riding, the horse Good Times dropped star rider Jacob Stacy. Several other horses and bulls dropped their riders throughout the weekend. In breakaway calf roping, the first five calves got away Saturday before Quincy Pendergrass roped one in 5.7 seconds. The event ended in a three-way tie between Katie Leibold, Tracy Ryanne and Bailey Beal at 2.0 seconds.
In barrel racing, Pierson had Saturday’s fourth best mark at 18.80 seconds. Amy McHale, also of Long Beach, had a time of 19.51 seconds on Sunday.
Daggett and rodeo clown Kyle Bode kept the crowd engaged and entertained through the long weekend. Daggett provided commentary and let the crowd know when it was about to see a star performer. He also engaged in banter with Bode. Bode played the fool, with deliberately stupid jokes and slapstick routines. The weather was sunny throughout the weekend.