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Rodeo Wife Heather Jo checks in.. updates from the Bulldogging Shootout and much more!

We successfully made it through another round of the Central Oregon Bulldogging Shootout!  It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work too.  I told Alex the night of the jackpot, when everything was winding done, that I was done, no more, I’d had enough!  It gets a little hectic and crazy for us that are behind the scenes, I literally about lost my mind.  Well so much for me being done with it, we are already brainstorming ideas for next year’s “Shootout”! 

 Heather Jo and the adorable Sophie Anne

 We were so happy with the way the “Shootout” turned out this year.  We had 32 contestants including Luke Branquinho this year’s champion, a few other NFR qualifiers, and lots of other great bulldoggers.  Our spectating crowd grew from last year’s and was probably much more rowdy too!  It was a lot of fun!  We were excited to have $3,100.00 added money, bringing the total money pot to around $9,000.00.  Which in turn makes a great pay out to the cowboys.  We all know that this time of year can be super expensive on the road, which makes winning at our jackpot a nice little bit of extra cash to get through the busy rodeo summer.  I have to give a shout out to all of our great sponsors.  The “Shootout” simply couldn’t exist with out them, just to name our top sponsors one more time, Robertson Ranch, John L. Scott Realty, Terry Kay Repair, and Pendleton Whisky!

Our “Shootout” was made up of two go-rounds, one 8-10 man short-go(winner takes all of $500.00), and of course the average.  First go-round winners were: 1st Luke Branquinho, 2nd Blake Knowles, 3rd Casey McMillen, and 4th Les Shepperson.  Second go-round winners were: 1st Travis Carnine, 2nd Brad McGilchrist, 3rd Dane Hanna, and 4th Blake Knowles.  The short-go round winner was Stan Branco.  Average winners were, 1st Luke Branquinho, 2nd Blake Knowles, 3rd Dane Hanna, and 4th Stan Branco, making our 2011 Central Oregon Bulldogging Shootout Champion Luke Branquinho!

A couple of the cowboys waiting for their turn to bulldogg at the “Shootout”.  Luke Branquinho the 2011 Central Oregon Bullodgging Shootout Champion is 2nd from the left. Photograph taken by Pilar Ash Photography

We also took advantage of our event in order to help raise money for Russ Weitl.  Cookies For Russ |  It was a great opportunity for Alex and I, along with other cowboys and rodeo fans to give back to someone in need.  We were so thrilled with how our sponsors stepped up donating items to auction off on Russ’s behalf.  We were astounded by the generosity of the bidders, and were very excited to send off a check to Cookies for Russ for around $3,400.00.  It is so amazing how great the rodeo family and rodeo lovers can be!  Thanks again to all of you that attended our “Shootout” and opened up your hearts and pocket books for a bulldogger in need!  Once again, I am so overwhelmed with how amazing people can be!

Alex bulldogging with Casey McMillen as the hazer. Photograph taken by Pilar Ash Photography

After all the “Shootout” stuff, Alex, Sophie Anne, and I enjoyed a great weekend there in Central Oregon with both sides of our family.  My family came up from Utah to help with the “Shootout” and, of course, attend one of the greatest little rodeos in Sisters Oregon.  It was a lot of fun!
Then Miss Sophie Anne and I packed up and headed down to Utah with my parents.  WOW, I knew I’d be packing more with having a baby, but I had NO IDEA how much more.  I have to give it to all of you rodeo mom’s out there that lug around almost your entire house with you on the rodeo trail, just to take care of your kids.  Because, I swear I packed everything but the kitchen sink!    So far Utah has been a blast, I love spending time with all of my family, and it has been fun introducing Sophie Anne to all of them.  Our little miss Sophie Anne is coming up on 3 months old, and growing like a weed!  She is doing so good!  It’s the most amazing thing to be a parent and I think Alex and I love it more and more every day.  It’s been hard, so far, being away from Alex.  I’m sure he misses his li’l baby girl a lot, and maybe misses me a little too!  But, with as crazy as summer rodeoing gets, I’m glad to be a little more grounded by staying put in Utah.
As for Alex, well his rodeo plans got quite the bump in them.  One of his traveling partners for the summer, Casey McMillen, ended up getting a bad knee injury during the Sisters Oregon rodeo, and is out for a few months.  We hope for him to have a speedy recovery!  Although, that was one big hiccup in Alex’s rodeo plans he has adjusted and is still hitting the rodeo trail as hard as he can.  It has basically just started for him so not much to report on.  He placed at North Platte, NE, but was a little out of the money in Pleasant Grove UT.  His next rodeo is Reno, NV, hopefully he’ll throw down some good times for some money there.  Sophie Anne and I were able to attend Pleasant Grove while Alex was there and steal him away for the weekend.  It was great to get to celebrate his first Father’s Day with him!  You never know when rodeos will hit on “special days” so when you actually get to celebrate one with your cowboy it’s almost a miracle!  NOTE: Sophie Anne’s birth!! =)
As for the rest of the summer, well we’ll see what goes on.  We will be super busy with Alex on the road, and me and Sophie Anne sitting in the stands at all of the many Utah rodeos!! Once again I’d like to wish Alex, as well as all of the other cowboys, luck and safety through out this summer on the rodeo road!