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By Dave Buchanan
2019 10 Steer Co-Champion,
Vice President of CTRA

Joseph (Joe) Shawnego is a guy who keeps showing us time and time again what a winner he is. I’m not sure, but I think in three days he roped approximately 30 steers by two feet and had to head one (Seth), but he did not miss. What a challenge that must have been. I was honored to win the Oakdale 10 Steer with my partner Joe.

I am an ACTRA #2.5 roper and have been one for 30 years. I’ve roped in every amateur roping competition from OKC to Caldwell to Scottsdale. I’ve had some great partners including Stinger (Gary Ellis), Eddie Green and Gary Gist. While we’ve had a lot of fun, we just didn’t win a lot. The point being, I believe my handicap is pretty accurate. Joe’s been a high number since he could drag a rope, so no missed number for him. We were a straight time #8.5 team, 90.59 seconds on 10 head with no go round wins. We didn’t draw a round steer. What we did draw was six pretty good steers. One was a hard running steer that checked off when I roped him. Another that tried to pull leg and one that just wasn’t wanting to be roped. Again, we stayed the course and it paid off.

The thing about handicaps is that they only help if you don’t give anything back. You are only rewarded if you don’t need it. We had a lot of top level ropers at the Oakdale 10 Steer that were handicapped up. I’m not sure, but I don’t think these competitors didn’t win because of the handicap. Mistakes were made, that’s all. Low numbers don’t dominate having bad numbers. To the ropers that understand, the handicap was tripled to nine steers from the usual three.

This year’s Oakdale 10 Steer was full of great moments and memorable personalities. The open roping started the weekend on Thursday evening. It’s a fun event to watch. Under normal circumstances, we (CTRA-California Team Roping Association) would have drawn about 30 PRCA circuit teams, with ropers sometimes traveling long distances to compete here. This year though, many of our usual competitors are in the top 50 and were attending events in the Northwest in order to hold their spots for the big competitions next year. We are proud of these guys and wish them every bit of luck to go with their skills.

The Century started Friday—it’s a real Century with no age limit. We have grandpa and grandson teams from some families. We had 48 or so teams, slightly down from last year. Many families have brought their kids to rope for years when roping was open to the world. Families like the Greens, Cowdens, Madonnas, Twisselmans, Hansens, Burgesses, Hirdes, Stadtlers, Shawnegos, Gulleys, Ramonts, Blaggs, Serpas, Harveys, Moores, Mounts, Musicks, Dugos, Murrays, Bacigalupis, Kents, Spences, Woodards and Leslies all have made roping a family tradition (if I’ve missed naming you, I apologize). This event is especially family friendly and the tradition continues, with many ropers who started here in their youth, competing at upper levels now. We’re talking about a lot of kids who started here.

The Phil Stadtler Memorial was celebrated on Friday afternoon. With 178 teams and 4 head for $100, we saw some great roping. The saddles were paid for by the Stadtler family and other generous sponsors. The roper simply paid for competing. Scott Messelas, Doug Rocha and Bachis put on a really cool, open to everyone, free steak and oyster feed.

The Girls Breakaway was disappointing only because of the lack of entrants. We’ve tried to include the ladies in more events. Other events within 100 miles cut into the number of competitors this year. We are committed to women’s competition and want to support female ropers, so please come and join us in Oakdale next year. The Joanie Gatz Memorial was Saturday evening. With limited participation, we were unable to have prize saddles, but upgraded the buckles for the ropers who competed. We would appreciate input and real time assistance on making female events a success, so please step up.

Saturday started the first of the first five head of the 10 steer with 83 teams and we finished up on Sunday with with the remaining five head. It was great watching as a lot of teams were going for the rounds with a lot of cattle to draw from. One round had two four second runs. Just a few teams apart from the guys with a good five second run, which must have been really disappointing. While we were finishing the ninth round, we held a Kid’s Dummy Roping which was open by age groups. The kids loved it and were rewarded with buckles, roping toys, ropes and prize money. To the generous people who opened their wallets to support these new roping fans, you rock. Tres Rios has always donated the buckles for the kids – thank you!
No one understands more than me, that there are a lot of easier ropings to enter. The three steer draw pots where you enter four times for $20 and win small amounts, I go to myself, at least once a week. Money isn’t always the issue, but you need to ride good horses to compete. Thank you contractors for having these ropings that make so little money, you have to wonder what the point is. Then, we have the $150 a man four steer, BIG MONEY roping with little or no prizes, little to no rounds paid, but a big pay-off for the top winners. Then you can cough up half of what you win for the chance for bigger money. These ropings are a straight business run by businessmen to make money. For profit. I go and I compete, yes, because I live to rope. Like I said, it’s not always about the money.

The 10 Steer Roping isn’t supposed to be easy. What would be the point? You have to score (much shorter now), behind a rope barrier (real cowboys only these days) and come from the right side (again, real cowboy stuff). We rope big, strong cattle – the best we can get each year. We compete in the big arena, surrounded by our friends and families, who know the rules, the mistakes and the triumphs. The conditions are challenging. And that’s exactly the point.
I may be biased, but I think the yearly Oakdale 10 Steer competition is an event that deserves to be experienced in person and up close. No one is putting words in my mouth – this is my opinion. We have a small group of hard working committee members and wonderful sponsors. These sponsors, who receive very little recognition, still pony up each year, some who have been sponsors for four or five generations and working hard to keep our cowboy competition thriving. (Thank you to Misty Balaam and Tyler Holzum for stepping in for me with the kids dummy roping while I focused on winning the roping and did I mention that Joe and I won?)

I invite you to come see what the Oakdale 10 Steer is about. You might change your opinion of what real roping is with great prizes paid for by CTRA and local sponsors. The ropers are the winners, not the businessmen.  

Results of Oakdale 10 Steer week ropings are as follows:


Open Roping winners were Daniel Green and Cody Cowden, pictured with Dave Buchanan, CTRA Vice-President.

Thurs., August 29
Open: 4 for $125
1st go: 1. Daniel Green and Cody Cowden, 9.93, $125.
Average: 1. Daniel Green and Cody Cowden, 38.05, $570.


Buster Berna and Jason Sanders won the Century Roping.

Fri., August 30
Century #8.5 Hdcp: 4 for $100
1st go: 1. BJ Kelley and Justin Spence, 6.60, $280. 2. David Motes and Todd Hampton, 7.95, $185.
Average: 1. Buster Berna and Jason Sanders, 36.15, $1,065. 2. David Motes and Dennis Watkins, 37.80, $795. 3. Scott Cowden and Walt Rodman, 39.39, $535. 4. Sean Pascoe and Todd Hampton, 40.05, $265.
Phil Stadtler Memorial #7 Roping: 4 for $100
1st go: 1. Keith Erickson and Clayton Cowden, 7.16, $910. 2. Justin Stacy and Blair Wheatley, 7.73, $690. 3. Chris Phillips and Joe Robinson, 8.26, $460. 4. Frank Compaglia and Chad Parson, 8.27, $230.
Average: 1. Rylee George and Lane Wheeler, 37.23, $2,385. 2. Maci Harvey and Lance Harvey, 39.00, $2,015. 3. Colton Santos and Walt Rodman, 39.35, $1,650. 4. Jacob Harvey and Tanner Kent, 39.98, $1,285. 5. Lilla Bell and David Motes, 40.61, $915. 6. Connor Nighman and Jerold Camarillo, 41.16, $550. 7. Chris Phillips and Tom Hardin Sr., 41.32, $365.


Breakaway winner was Beth Hitchcock who was presented a Yeti cooler from members of the Bacigalupi family.

BREAKAWAY ROPING: 3 for $125
1st. go: 1. Whitlee Burgess, 3.09. 2. Aubry Reese, 3.14
2nd. go: 1. Beth Hitchcock, 2.78. 2. Rikki Perezchica, 2.90.
Average: 1. Beth Hitchcock, 11.21. 2. Rylee George, 11.48. 3. Whitlee Burgess, 11.59. 4. Whitlee Burgess, 19.28.


Joanie Gatz All Girl champions were Julie Harvey and Rikki Perezchica. Buckles were presented to them by CTRA members Dave Buchanan and Travis Johnson.

Sat., August 31
Joanie Gatz Memorial All Girl: 4 for $50
1st go: 1. Maci Harvey and Whitlee Burgess, 8.75, $125. 2nd go: 1. Britt Jo Faborito and Summer Tex, 8.09, $125.
Average: 1. Julie Harvey and Rikki Perezchica, 45.93, $375. 2. Taylor Ash and Rikki Perezchica, 52.90, $225. 3. Maci Harvey and Rikki Perezchica, 57.05, $150.


Travis Johnson presents buckles to the Fast Time Winners of the 10-Steer, Colee Hatley and Ward Fuhlendorf.

August 31-Sept. 1
#8.5 Hdcp 10 Steer: 10 for $200
Go rounds paid $300 for first; $200 to second:
1st go: 1. Seth Mielke and Joseph J. Shawnego, 6.73. 2. Zack Toberer and Gary Ford, 6.84.
2nd go: 1. Ryan Bettencourt and Joe Robinson, 6.86. 2. Eric Cozzitorto and Jeffrey Larson, 7.48.
3rd go: 1. Will Centoni and Bob Brown, 5.86. 2. Colton Miller and Danny Leslie, 6.33.
4th go: 1. Tanner Kent and Travis Kent, 5.24. 2. Justin Spence and Danny Leslie, 5.52.
5th go: 1. Cutter Machado and Bob Brown, 5.25. 2. Colee Hatley and Tanner Smith, 5.33.
6th go: 1. Cutter Machado and Frankie Martinez, 5.68. 2. Sid Harvey and Lance Harvey, 6.23.
7th go: 1. Colton Miller and Danny Leslie, 5.66. 2. Jason Snow and Josh Gonzales, 6.19.
8th go: 1. Tanner Kent and Lane Wheeler, 5.43. 2. David Motes and Justin Spence, 5.98.
9th go: 1. Tanner Kent and Lane Wheeler, 4.71. 2. Bo Bacigalupi and Joseph Shawnego, 4.98.
10th go: 1. Ward Fuhlendorf and Colee Hatley, 4.39. 2. Colee Hatley and Danny Leslie, 4.89.
Average: 1. David Buchanan and Joseph J. Shawnego, 90.59, $1,730. 2. Layton Oswald and Jace Helton, 95.00, $1,435. 3. Travis Xavier and Danny Leslie, 103.77, $1,135. 4. Seth Mielke and Joseph J. Shawnego, 107.05, $835. 5. Preston Burgess and Cody Cowden, 107.81, $540. 6. Eric Cozzitorto and Kent Hirdes, 120.18, $300.