Yee-Haw: Woodlake Lions Rodeo

By Tom Price Jr.

If the tri-tip lunch for $7 wasn't enough to draw rodeo fans on Mother's Day, maybe the No. 1 rated bull and a former bareback riding champion would.

Reindeer Dippin', a bull out of Flying-U Ranch and Jeff Monte, the 2002 bareback riding world champion, both displayed their skills at the 51st Annual Woodlake Lions Rodeo and helped boost attendance, with nearly 9,000 fans entering the gates.

Reindeer Dippin', who had bucked off all four competitors who had tested her in 2004, made it five by tossing Brad McKee on Sunday.

The bull riding was just one of seven Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) events that local fans were treated to. Others include steer wrestling, bareback riding, tie down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping and women's barrel racing.

Evan Matthews had the best bull ride of the day, pleasing the fans with an 87 and Sean Case finished second with a 77.

Tyler Holzum won the steer wrestling competition with a time of 4.5 seconds and Cody Demers won the bareback riding contest with a score of 77.

Sam MacKenzie scored a 77 to win the saddle bronc riding competitions and the team of Wes Moore and Chris Nobles captured the team roping event with a time of 6.6 seconds.

For the women, Ruth Haiship won the Womens Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing competition.

"It was a successful rodeo, there was a lot of entertainment, exciting entertainment," Woodlake Lions President John Wood said. "I talked to a lot of people and they all said it was great and they will be back next year."

The Woodlake Lions Rodeo is one of two, major fundraisers for the Woodlake Lions Club, the other being the Senior Rodeo which is held in October. Of the $25,000 expected to be raised from this weekend's rodeo, $7,500 will go to annual scholarships for area high school students and other donations will be made to various community projects.

The 2004 Grand Marshal of the Woodlake Rodeo was Dick Edmiston, who has served the Woodlake community for nearly six decades. Audra Ainley of Visalia was named the Rodeo Queen. Ainley, represented the rodeo at the event and will represent it throughout the entire year at other events.

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