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Wyatt Gibbs (second from right) and Dan Williams, Sr. (second from left) were the winners of the Century #8 Hdcp. held Sept. 20 at the ACTRA California Chapter Finals in Chowchilla. Presenting their saddles are ACTRA Directors Larry McGrady (l) and Bryon Abshire.

By Mike Sweeney
ACTRA Business Manager

CHOWCHILLA, CALIF. –  The California Chapter Finals got started in Chowchilla on September 19 with the #8.5 Roping. It was Karen Dias and Frank Perez who would make the victory lap and split $4,680 and win trophy Cactus championship saddles.

There were 185 teams entered in the #10.5 Handicap Roping. It was Tanner James and Danny Leslie who would take that victory lap. They too would win Cactus trophy saddles certificates and split $4,480 in cash. The last roping of the day was the Open roping, where CJ DeForest and Wyatt Hansen would take the top spot splitting $3,310 and $1,000 in memory of Bobby Blaswich.

While the Open Roping was going on in the main arena, the first ever Girls Breakaway Roping was going on in the second arena. This was something new for ACTRA and was very well received. Stealing the show was Woodlake’s Kaiden Ayres. Kaiden would put a total of $500 in her pocket for winning the open. This could just be the beginning of a great partnership between ACTRA and girls breakaway ropings.

Friday morning the Century Roping took center stage. It was the team of Wyatt Gibbs and Dan Williams Sr. who would pick up the Cactus championship saddle certificates and split $4,520 in cash.

The Super 7 Roping was next and saw 376 teams entered. It was Buster Berna and Kent Hirdes who would beat out the team of Ryan Bettencourt and Walt Rodman by .01 of a second. Buster and Kent would take home the Cactus championship saddle certificates and split $6,930 in cash.

The roping ended just in time for people to make their way to the banquet. Jeff and Joe and the staff from the Farmers Den did an outstanding job on the dinner menu. Big smiles all around.

Just as dinner was finishing up, Larry McGrady and Marlin Russum got the Year-End awards presentation started. The Year-End Program had a total of 174 awards valued at over $80,000!

The evening ended with the Catastrophe Fund Auction. The Auction generated over $4,200. Thanks to all the donors and buyers.

We want to thank the setup crew of Teena Blair, Ellen St. Clair, Sandy Inderbitzen, Vikki Sweeney and Brayden Sweeney. The hall looked fantastic.

Special thank you to Shelly Kuhn and Amanda Amis for taking care of the books. Another special thank you to Don Brumley for coming up to Chowchilla just to handle the auctioneering.

Saturday morning the #5.5 got underway. This roping drew 523 teams, the biggest roping of the Finals. The champions of this roping were Travis Kent and Eli Green, who split $6,450 in cash and won championship Cactus trophy saddles. The average paid 15 places.
The #3 roping was the next roping and drew 255 teams. It was the team of Robert Lea and Dan McGinn who would take the victory lap in this one, they picked up championship Cactus saddles and split $4,780.
What a great day of roping!

The last roping of the day was the Ashley Escobar All Girl. It drew 64 teams. Brandy Joseph and Melody Hutchins would take home the beautiful Skyline buckles and split $1,280 in cash. Great roping ladies.

Sunday morning the #4 drew 379 teams. Before the roping got started the ropers took some time to pay tribute to ACTRA Founder Pat Honey­cutt who passed away recently. Team ropers lined the entire length of the arena as a steer was turned out in Pat’s honor. Many of Pat’s ideas are alive and well to this day.

The final chapter of the California ACTRA Finals saw Chase Helton and Eli Green take home the championship Cactus saddles in the #4 Roping on Sunday, splitting $6,960 in cash.
One of the best California Finals in recent memory.

Now it’s time to thank all those who made these Finals a tremendous success. At the top of the list are the members, without them there would be no ACTRA. Next, the Board that works year around to make the Finals the best it can be. Another partner that makes any roping successful is the stock contractor; Steve Simons of S Bar J Cattle, who works hard at bringing the best cattle for each roping. He watches every run and keeps the herds as even as possible, Steve also makes sure the high teams always have the best cattle possible, thanks Steve.

Another part of a successful roping is the office staff and announcers. A big thank you to Toni, Tonja, Breanna, Cory and Brenda. A tip of the Resistol to flaggers Billy Butler and Jeremy Kelton.

We would like to thank Lee Legasey of Perfect Timing for the service he provides with the barrier systems. Thanks also to Jodi and Stan Branco who did a fantastic job with the stalls and RV parking. A special thank you to the Directors who really helped in the production of the Finals: Bryon Abshire made sure all the communications were working and spent a lot of time with the setup of the arena. Larry McGrady and Marlin Russum did an awesome job of getting all the awards put together in a timely manner. Wayne Hicks put a lot of hours in on the Lawrence Tractor, thanks Wayne.

Chowchilla Fair Manager Gene Beels and his staff did an outstanding job. A special thank you to Steve Branco for the ground prep and dust control.

And a big “atta girl” to Mother Nature as the weather was perfect.

Next it was on to Reno for the ACTRA National Finals!

Results from the ACTRA California Chapter Finals held September 19-22 at the Fairgrounds in Chowchilla.

Thurs., Sept. 19
#8.5: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Seth Mielke and Justin Pereira, 6.29, $435. 2. Jeremy Simonich and Justin Pereira, 6.38, $260. 3/4. Andy Holcomb and Jake Bourdet; Tanner Brumley and Tristan Luther, 6.71, $85.
Average: 1. Karen Dias and Frank Perez, 31.20, $2,340. 2. Lance Harvey and Dean Bell, 31.94, $1,640. 3. Jeremy Simonich and Justin Pereira, 31.99, $1,250. 4. Andy Holcomb and Jake Bourdet, 32.18, $935. 5. Blake Hirdes and Kent Hirdes, 33.42, $700. 6. Cole Bunting and Cody Stewart, 33.52, $545. 7. Lilla Bell and Andy Holcomb, 33.81, $390.

#10.5 Hdcp: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Clayton Moore and Todd Hampton, 5.03, $415. 2. Tanner James and Monty Joe Petska, 5.25, $250. 3. Clayton Moore and Monty Joe Petska, 5.62, $165.
Average: 1. Tanner James and Danny Leslie, 22.43, $2,240. 2. Mike Redfeairn and Ryan Eaton Sr., 23.93, $1,570. 3. Bo Bacigalupi and Lane Wheeler, 25.34, $1,195. 4. Tanner James and Monty Joe Petska, 25.37, $895. 5. Clayton Moore and Todd Hampton, 26.33, $670. 6. Joseph Rossi and Todd Hampton, 26.90, $525. 7. Tanner Brumley and Cody Robbins, 26.93, $375.

Open: 4 for $100
1st go: 1. Doyle Hoskins and CJ DeForest, 5.77, $220. 2. Lane Karney and Spencer Mitchell, 5.86, $145.
Average: 1. CJ DeForest and Wyatt Hansen, 26.31, $1,655. 2. Ryan Reed and Monty Joe Petska, 26.45, $995. 3. Daniel Green and Andy Holcomb, 28.19, $660.

Ladies Breakaway: 3 head for $125
1st go: 1. Lilla Bell, 3.25, $75. 2nd go: 1. Briley Dahlem, 3.32, $75.
Incentive: 1. Briley Dahlem, 6.65, $150. 2. Briley Dahlem, 9.03, $100.
Average: 1. Kaiden Ayres, 12.25, $500. 2. Briley Dahlem, 12.35, $300. 3. Jessica Cardoza, 12.87, $150.

Fri., Sept. 20
Century #8 Hdcp: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Sean Pascoe and Monty Joe Petska, 5.68, $380. 2. Shawn Howell and Todd Hampton, 6.71, $230. 3. Cody Cowden and Monty Joe Petska, 6.95, $150.
Average: 1. Wyatt Gibbs and Dan Williams, Sr., 29.48, $2,255. 2. Daren Lowry and Jeff Sparrowk, 31.75, $1,570. 3. Steve Smith and Todd Hampton, 32.11, $1,160. 4. Shawn Howell and Todd Hampton, 32.54, $820. 5. Bill Horner and Monty Joe Petska, 32.98, $615. 6. Wyatt Gibbs and Jeff Sparrowk, 33.37, $410.

SUPER #7: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Kenneth Ellison and Robert Jernigan, 7.09, $610. 2. Keith Erickson and Tyler Friday, 7.19, $435. 3. Nolan Scott and Jake Bourdet, 7.22, $330. 4. Tanner James and Brad Hall, 7.23, $245. 5. Mike Redfeairn and Levi Luis, 7.29, $120.
Average: 1. Buster Berna and Kent Hirdes, 33.52, $3,465. 2. Ryan Bettencourt and Walt Rodman, 33.53, $2,675. 3. Larry Williams and Jim D. Shawnego Jr., 34.44, $1,890. 4. Sean McRoberts and Kevin Pascoe, 35.57, $1,415. 5. Steve Mitchell and John Freeman, 36.70, $1,260. 6. Jacob Harvey and Joe Robinson, 36.85, $1,100. 7. Ernie Cardoza and Luke Cardoza 37.11, $945. 8. Joseph Pedota and Vernon Green, 37.19, $785. 9. Leslie Davenport and Joey Acevedo, 37.57, $630. 10. Daren Lowry and Hunter Lowry, 38.02, $630. 11. Joseph Rossi and Tom Hardin Sr., 38.76, $470. 12. Randal Shepherd and Kent Hirdes, 38.77, $470.

Sat., Sept. 21
#5.5: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Nathan Wohld and Rikki Perezchica, 6.61, $715. 2. Juan Ramirez and Seth Sanders, 7.13, $500. 3. Gavin Wheatley and Jeremy Simonich, 7.15, $380. 4. Courtney Boesch and Dominic Patino Sr., 7.20, $285. 5. Kyndall Green and Vernon Green, 7.26, $215. 6. Jason L. Smith and Rikki Perezchica, 7.45, $165. 7. Caleb Reese Cowden and Jason Cowden, 7.47, $120.
Average: 1. Travis Kent and Eli Green, 34.55, $3,225. 2. Eli Green and Rigo Estrella, 35.90, $2,795. 3. Ernie Cardoza and Mark Burner, 36.26, $2,365. 4. Butch Pope and Tyler Friday, 36.27, $2,150. 5. Gavin Eaton and Ryan Eaton Sr., 37.13, $1,720. 6. Jason L. Smith and Whitney Mitchell, 38.08, $1,505. 7. Keith Erickson and Kent Hirdes, 38.71, $1,290. 8. Greg Jones and Rick Rush, 40.10, $1,180. 9. Allen Battle and Chad Parson, 40.17, $1,075. 10. Caleb Reese Cowden and Jason Cowden, 40.44, $965. 11. Georgene Mielke and Roy Branco, 40.97, $860. 12. Karen Dias and Jerry Ruiz, 42.79, $750. 13. Anthony Basso and Garret Roen, 43.14, $645. 14. Flint Sweet and Tony Gaither, 43.53, $535. 15. Ernie Cardoza and Gavin Cardoza, 43.98, $430.

#3 Pick Or Draw: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Nathan Roth and Matt Maral, 7.81, $405. 2. Shannon Scott and Connor Nighman, 8.26, $290. 3. Kellie Mackin and Lori L. Nevis, 8.68, $220. 4. David Kawika Estocado and Kent McDonnell, 9.25, $160. 5. Justin Evans and Kenny Mendoza, 9.39, $80.
Average: 1. Robert Lea and Dan McGinn, 47.23, $2,390. 2. Thelma Nelson and Steve Garcia, 51, $1,765. 3. Angel Gonzale and Larry Smith, 56.74, $1,245. 4. Annie Ney and Joe Jenkins, 61.05, $1,040. 5. Matt Ritchie and Ron Iriart, 62.44, $935. 6. Bruce Sherley and Ernie Mauro, 64.93, $830. 7. Jim Camelio and John Gentry, 75.36, $625. 8. Cyle Coatney and Paul J. Smith, 28.51, $520. 9. Stanley Silva III and Caleb Reese Cowden, 33.40, $415. 10. Gavin Eaton and Robert Lea, 40.62, $310. 11. Julie Doty Schwartz and Cory Carvalho, 41.93, $310.

ASHLEY ESCOBAR ALL-GIRL #7 Hdcp: 4 for $80
1st go: 1. Maci Harvey and Jillian Murray, 7.83, $105. 2. Tappy Anthony and Callie Anthony and Callie Anthony, 8.62, $70.
Average: 1. Brandy Joseph and Melody Hutchins, 42.86, $640. 2. Karen Waggoner and Whitney Mitchell, 53.88, $480. 3. Sandy Perez and Franki Jo Perez, 38.86, $320. 4. Karen Waggoner and Carol Johnson, 40.94, $160.
Sun., Sept. 22
#4 Pick Or Draw: 4 for $60
1st go: 1. Maci Harvey and Chase Helton, 6.57, $580. 2. Joey Rawls and John Flook, 7.10, $405. 3. Kyndall Green and Sid Harvey, 7.24, $300. 4. Caleb Reese Cowden and Jason Cowden, 7.35, $210. 5. Gavin Eaton and Sid Harvey, 7.52, $160. 6. Blake Ricken and Gilbert Valdez, 7.83, $105.
Average: 1. Chase Helton and Eli Green, 34.36, $3,480. 2. Maci Harvey and Chase Helton, 34.55, $2,690. 3. Naea Hughes and Ron Oswalt, 39.47, $1,900. 4. Leslie Davenport and Hunter Lowry, 41.56, $1,425. 5. Joey Rawls and John Flook, 42.33, $1,265. 6. Dionna Smith and Gilbert Valdez, 42.73, $1,110. 7. Chad Nickeson and Richie Jones, 43.66, $950. 8. Tim Gualco and Justin Stacy, 47.71, $790. 9. Keely Kirkman and Devin Lemmones, 48.82, $635. 10. Sally Demaria and Devin Lemmones, 49.38, $635. 11. Tim Gualco and Hunter Lowry, 49.55, $475. 12. Matt Maral and Ken Paddock, 49.90, $475.


Karen Dias and Frank Perez won the #8.5 roping. Presenting their saddles are Earl Hall (l) of Hall Ag Enterprises, and Gus Rodriguez of Cactus Ropes & Saddlery.


Winning saddles in the #3 Pick or Draw were Robert Lea and Dan McGinn. Presenting are Billy Horner, California ACTRA President (r) and ACTRA Director Larry McGrady.


Super 7 winners Buster Berna (right, with saddle) and Kent Hirdes, pictured with Gus Rodriguez of Cactus Ropes & Saddlery (l) and ACTRA Director, Merlin Russem (r).


Wyatt Hansen (left) and CJ DeForest (second from right) were the winners of the Open roping at the California ACTRA Chapter Finals. Billy Horner, California ACTRA President (r) and Briana Blaswich (representing the Bobby Blaswich family) presenting.


Ashley Escobar All-Girl Roping winners Brandy Joseph and Melody Hutchins. Presenting is ACTRA Director Larry McGrady and Billy Horner, California ACTRA President.


Chase Helton and Eli Green won the #4 Pick or Draw at the California Chapter Finals. Presenting the saddles are ACTRA Director Larry McGrady (l) and Billy Horner, California ACTRA President.


Tanner James and Danny Leslie with their new saddles for winning the #10.5 roping. Presenting are ACTRA Director, Marlin Russum and Gus Rodriguez of Cactus Ropes & Saddlery.


Buckle winners in the dummy roping: age 3 & under, Jace Jefferson; 4-5, Kylie Juenemann; 6-7, Joe Martin; and 8-9 years, Tyler Silva.