Diann Bukowski and Quixote were money on the money barrel.
The 44-year-old mother of two took the top money in the barrel racing event at the Evergreen Rodeo after she and her young horse made a clean – and fast – swing around the first of three barrels. From there is was relatively smooth sailing as she finished in 17.55 seconds to pocket $796.43 at the annual Fathers Day’s weekend event.
“I knew he was making a run, but he tripped pretty bad on the third barrel and I thought that was going to hurt us,” Bukowski said of Quixote, formally a cutting horse.
That trip was hardly noticeable as Quixote never broke stride and powered across the finish line on a perfect day in June.
The rodeo was another successful installment of the Old West and was complete with cash prizes usually reserved for stagecoach robberies. The total purse this year was more than $25,000, which is always a welcome reward for the participating cowboys and cowgirls, in addition to their hungry livestock – some of which are named after one of the greatest works of literature in Spain and the world.
“I think that’s the hardest thing to do is trust your barrel horse at 180 miles per hour,” Bukowski said.
Bull riding took the spotlight as event organizers began the competition on Friday for the first time. The bulls, however, were not in the giving mood as only a handful of riders were able to survive the eight-second romp.
Clayton Savage, of Cheyenne, Wyo., earned $1,722 for his aggregate victory in bull riding. Savage was the only cowboy to complete two rides as he stayed on Roach and Grumpy to cruise to a big win.
Savage’s earnings were the most from a single event. The highest payoff went to team roping champions Garrett Tonozzi and Kinney Harrell, who both pocketed $1,186 after they turned in a time of 4.9 seconds.
Kyle Hughes of Olney Springs, Colo., was the all-around champion. Hughes took first in steer wrestling with a time of 4.2 seconds and was third in tie down roping for a combined take-home haul of $1,669.62.
Local faces were scarce atop the standings. Conifer’s Tim Shirley was the lone bright spot after he finished first in the bareback riding event to win $798.
Zach Curran of Arvada tied for third in bareback.
One Tall Peek
OK, so Josh Peek isn’t the tallest of the three Peek brothers out of Pueblo, but he sits highest in the saddle after finishing second overall in the PRCA standings last season with earnings of more than $260,000. Brothers Jon and Jeremiah came to Evergreen on Saturday and Josh competed Sunday when he placed second in steer wrestling with a time of 4.3 seconds.
“The crowd gets your energy going,” Peek said. “A big crowd, yelling and screaming, it makes a lot of difference.”
Peek’s initial time in the tie down roping would have taken first place but he crossed the line too early and was hit with a 10-second penalty.
The Butler did it
Joe Butler sold all his good horses and presumably got some good medical insurance when he realized he was going to be a professional rodeo bullfighter. The native of Stillwater, Okla., made his first visit to the Evergreen Rodeo this past weekend and made it a memorable trip.
Butler, whose primary job is to protect cowboys by leaping in front of raging bulls, had the honor of being hooked and tossed by one of the two Mexican fighting bulls brought to the rodeo.
“He’s an old bull and it’s not like in Spain where they kill them, we keep fighting them. That bull has been fought a bunch and he’s smart,” Butler said. “When I went to him he was crossing his feet and he knew where I was going. He cut that corner on me and when he did, he hit me and flipped me up in the air. I don’t know how far I went but everybody’s told me about 10 feet. I did me a somersault twist and he hit me against just as I was hitting the ground. It beat me up pretty good.”
Butler, who has a laundry list of injuries over his young career, sported a nice road rash near his left ear where the bull caught him with its horn.
Two for the (no) money
Dillon Kujala of tiny Burns, Colo., went 0-for-2 in his attempts to get some money in the bull riding event. Kujala was sent flying both times, although his first attempt produced the most air.
Kujala’s bull appeared to almost stumble with its back legs before snapping his backside up and giving Kujala a non-stop domestic flight, minus any in-flight service.
“I felt good on him, but that next jump he really just dropped his tail down,” Kujala said. “Pretty much when they do that it puts you out of whack. I thought I’d get a re-ride, but I guess not.”
Evergreen Rodeo Results
Total purse: $25,407.75
Winners (name, hometown, score/time)
Saddle bronc: Ryan Bestol, Hyannis, Neb., 76
Bull riding: Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo., 159*
Bareback: Tim Shirley, Conifer, 87
Tie-down roping: Chase Johnston, Greeley, 9
Steer wrestling: Kyle Hughes, Olney Springs, Colo., 4.2
Team roping: Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo., and Kinney Harrell, San Angelo, Texas, 4.9
Barrel racing: Diann Bukowski, Falcon, Colo., 17.55
All around: Kyle Hughes
* Aggregate score