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By Randy Pennebaker
Special To Ropers Sports News

CHOWCHILLA, CA – Nov­ember 11-12, 2017, was a very busy weekend at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds; where the 15th annual Rope For Kids roping and the first annual Sort For Kids ranch sorting took place. This year $6,819 was raised at the annual event, which brings the grand total of cumulative donations to over $104,200. Over the two-day event there were 450 roping teams and 303 cattle sorting teams. A total of $22,773 in prize money was awarded along with three saddles, six buckles and various other awards.

In the roping event, Jason Sanders was the high money saddle winner for the #3 and above division and John Vincent Jr. won the saddle for the #2½ and under roper division. The champion high point saddle for the cattle sorting event was won by Pedro Lizama; who passed it along to the reserve champion, his daughter Lily. There was also a fun dummy roping for the kids, silent auction, raffles, vendors, concessions, and several generous cash donations. Thank you to Casey Aalto and Jennifer Lauzon for donating all of the awards and running the dummy roping, to the Porter family and Brenda Robbins and her team for running the roping, to Jennifer Quinton for running a great cattle sorting and to Sissy’s BBQ & More (Tim and Debbie Warkentin) for keeping us well fed all weekend and donating some of their profits.

This event was started 15 years ago by Randy and Kelly Pennebaker, who continue to organize and coordinate the event along with the help of numerous other people each year. The first roping took place in the little town of Squaw Valley, Calif., and has since expanded to Sanger, Clovis, and finally to Chowchilla. 

The inspiration for the event came from a little girl named Samantha Chrisman who was a 5-year-old patient at Valley Children’s Hospital. Samantha suffered from a cancerous brain tumor, and with help from Children’s Hospital enjoyed a lengthy remission. Sadly her cancer came back and we lost Samantha in October of 2005. Samantha was an amazing little girl who didn’t feel sorry for herself, and instead thought of others first. This year’s donation is dedicated to Samantha along with another special girl named Rylee Summers. Rylee is a continuing patient at Children’s Hospital and is doing well roping and riding, thanks to this great facility. Rylee’s family is also a generous supporter of Rope For Kids. We appreciate the prayer that was led by our friend Doug Cockrell at the opening ceremony, it really reminded us what this event is all about.

Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in this roping and cattle sorting. Without your support this event wouldn’t be a success. It was a fun weekend all around, and the location in Chowchilla with their huge covered arena was fantastic. There were many generous sponsors and donations that helped with the roping as well as many donations that were made directly to Valley Children’s Hospital. Sponsors included: the Chowchilla Fair Board, Circle N Stables, Randy and Kelly Pennebaker & the 4 Cent Ranch, Trent Breckenridge and family, Ropers Sports News, Donna and Susan Hacker, Gar Tootelian Ag Chemicals Inc., David Gill, Tony Garcia and Valley Feed, Wells Fargo Bank, Brandon Summers and family, Tarlton and Son Inc., Linda T. Salwasser, Reedley 4-H, Sissy’s BBQ & More, Cowboy Classic Saddlery, Richard and Rosie Binns, Benchmark Buckles, Visalia Livestock Market, Casey Aalto and family, the Jones and Lauzon families, Lynn and John Chrisman, George Porter and family, Greg and Becky Dunbar, Paul and Beatriz Rutherford, American Cowboys Team Roping Association, Habib Cattle Company, The Prewitt Family, Steve Branco, Elliot Roberts, Brenda Robbins, Billy Butler, Thelma Cardoza, Marsha Hanes, Charlene and Ron Cox, Don and Anita Haynes, Advanced Ag Realty and Appraisal, Jennifer Quinton and Allied Building Products Corp. A very big thank you goes out to all the sponsors and other individuals that helped make this roping such a success. 

Results of the ropings are as follows (payoffs are per roper)

#4.5 Pick or Draw Roping: 3 for $30, 133 teams

1st go: 1. Calvin Jennings and Ryan Jennings, 6.47, $185. 2. Joseph Pedota and Colt Cowden, 6.88, $120. 

Average: 1. Joseph Pedota and Colt Cowden, 25.86, $520. 2. John Vincent Jr. and Clayton Vincent, 33.63, $435. 3. Bronc Rowland and Chase Helton, 34.95, $350. 4. Wayne Gaither and Ron Mancebo, 35.28, $260. 5. Juan Ramirez and Danny Cardoza, 35.31, $175.

#5.5 Pick or Draw: 3 for $30, 145 teams

1st go: 1. Jose Pantoja and Terrance Costa, 7.27, $205. 2. Dave Carrico and Randy Pennebaker, 7.73, $135. 

Average: 1. Keith Erickson and Roy Branco, 26.46, $630. 2. Dustin Dahlem and Ross Ketcham, 28.83, $485. 3. Dave Carrico and Jeff Adney, 29.72, $385. 4. John Vincent Jr. and Tommy Rogers, 30,07, $290. 5. Richard Breckbuehl and Randy Pennebaker, 30.16, $195 

#7 HDCP Pick & Draw: 3 for $35, 172 teams

1st go: 1. Billy Butler and Jason Sanders, 6.23, $220. 2. Thomas Hardin Jr. and Jason Sanders, 6.38, $160. 3. John R. Smith and Tim Gaither, 6.81, $110.

Average: 1. Billy Butler and Jason Sanders, 24.67, $880. 2. Vince Silva and Tom Hardin Sr., 24.78, $700. 3. Thomas Hardin Jr. and Jason Sanders, 24.81, $550. 4. Danny Cardoza and Lane Wheeler, 24.87, $415. 5. Sam Habib and David Gill, 25.35, $275.

RSNC Sorting

High point champion was Pedro Lizama; reserve champion Lily Lizama.


Event organizers Kelly Pennebaker (l) and Randy Pennebaker (c) present this year’s check for $6,819 to Jessica Duarte of Valley Children’s Hospital.


High point cattle sorting saddle was awarded to Pedro Lizama, who passed it down to his daughter Lily Lizama, reserve champion. Jennifer Quinton (l) and Randy Pennebaker (r) presenting.