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Brody Smith, an incoming senior for the Montana Western Bulldogs rodeo team, busts out of the gate on his way to an 81-point bareback bronc ride during the July 4 Days of the Old West rodeo performance in Hailey. Smith, a 2016 graduate of Oakley High School, won $579.93 for finishing first of 11 bareback riders over three days in Hailey. The son of Cameron and Marnie Smith was a two-time Idaho high school rodeo qualifier while at Oakley. This past June, Montana Western’s Smith barely missed the championship short-go in bareback bronc during the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. He settled for 15th place in the nation in bareback, and 30th overall in team roping.

Oregon saddle bronc rider Gabe McKay is making a habit of coming to Hailey for the Days of the Old West rodeo over Independence Day.

Several times McKay has landed on his back and left the valley empty-handed. But this year, McKay left Hailey Rodeo Arena with money.

McKay was one of the big winners of the July 2-4 Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club competition with $1,269.82 in money winnings including his first place in the stock saddle bronc/ranch bronc event. He tied for fourth in saddle bronc.

The criminal justice major out of Western Oregon University has been having a profitable stretch. He earned $2,100 during June’s Mountain High Broncs and Bulls Rodeo in Wallowa County, Ore.

Gabe and his brother Luke McKay, the Treasure Valley Community College rodeo teamer who also competed in Hailey recently, have an interesting background.

They were two of six Haitian children adopted by Joe and Joyce McKay 25 years ago.

Gabriel was two and Luke seven months when their parents brought them home by airplane to their ranch in tiny U.S. 20 oasis Juntura, Ore. The boys started off riding sheep. Three other adopted Haitian children joined the family.

Hailey supporters were glad to applaud Gabe McKay’s success. Indeed, nearly 300 cowboys and cowgirls aiming to make the most of the “Cowboy’s Christmas” holiday took their chances in front of huge crowds at Hailey Rodeo Arena.

Certainly the Tuesday, July 2 crowd wasn’t up to par.

But Sawtooth Rangers officials understood that Wednesday officially started the four-day holiday weekend, so Wednesday’s packed house made up nicely for Tuesday.

A sell-out crowd exceeding 3,500 spectators on Thursday, July 4 was the typically huge Hailey fireworks finale to the 72nd annual Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club rodeo event.

The Hailey rodeo finished with a $35,402 payout among the eight classes including the over $12,000 in added money.

Going unclaimed was over $3,000 in bullriding, because there were no qualified rides just like in 2016, when no Hailey bullriders made time.

 It continued a trend. Only one bullrider made the eight-second time in 2017. That was Elko’s Gaven Hyde, who paid his $55 entry and won the $4,949.50 pot as the only one of 22 bull riders making time.

Only two made time at Hailey Rodeo Arena at the 2018 rodeo. There were none this year. Not since 2015 has Days of the Old West paid to eight places—that year eight riders making time and carving up the $3,758 pot, out of 20 entries.

This year in Hailey, there were 288 entries—156 among the ropers, 60 in barrel racing (up from 44 last year), 13 bulldogging and 59 in rough stock.

 With its bigger turnout, barrel racing had the biggest leap in payout, about $1,500 more than last year. Shoshone’s Italy Jo Sheehan left with the biggest paycheck, $1,584 for her 15.722-second barrel racing sprint on Wednesday night.

 There was a trio of first-place ties, or splits, in breakaway roping, tie down roping and steer wrestling.

Rigby’s Kara Burns and Oakley’s Zoie Bedke clocked quick 2.0-second breakaway roping rides for $1,439.97 apiece. The top team roping time was 4.8 seconds, over one second faster than 2018.

 And the winning times for saddle bronc, bareback bronc and ranch bronc all surpassed 80 points, well ahead of last year’s top rough stock rides.

For such a well-run operation, there were plenty of people to thank, starting with Gene King and his family of King Rodeo Company and gate man Kelly Wardell, a professional bareback rider for 30 years and a National Finals rodeo qualifier on four separate occasions.

 Arena director was ace rodeo photographer Casey McGehee. The announcer was Jeff Lucas from Nashville, Tenn., who thoroughly enjoyed the cool Hailey temperatures in the mornings. Kay Malone was the ambassador coordinator.

The arena groomer was Stan Born from Shu Fly Arena. The Faulkners supplied mutton busting sheep. Erin Crawford of Sawtooth Equine provided services. Doing concessions were Kiwanis and Swiftsure Ranch.

Others were pick-up men Kurtis Koeppen and Kris White; ICA judges Matt Askew, Brett Endicott and Todd Billington; timers Nancy Durham and Mindy Hogan; bullfighters Austin Williams and Justin Davis; and clown/funny man Ben James.

Singing the national anthem were the Wood River High Colla Voce singers with Eliana Anderson, Sam White, Celeste Cortum, Mattigan Monschke, Neva Bear, Claire Watson, Lauren Roberts and Dani Atienza.

Heading up the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club were president Casey McGehee, vice president Garth Horn, treasurers Julie Flolo and Cara Malone, and secretary Kay Malone. Directors were Tree Bosch, Kay Malone, Jack Flolo, Bill Ratliffe, Cheryl Bennett and Nancy Glick.

In these results, the nine classes in the Idaho Cowboys Association (ICA) Prime event are ranked, from the biggest payout, on down. Cowboys and cowgirls have to attend six of the ICA Prime rodeos to be eligible for the ICA Finals.

Writing the checks was rodeo secretary Wade Durham, who made a living with ICR Outfitters out of Cameron, Mt. The final 2019 Days of the Old West pay window results are:

• Team roping ($8,075.04 total payout, header listed first, then heeler): 1—Jared Thompson and Paul Dunn of Caldwell, 4.8 seconds for $1,170.88 each side (July 3 ropers). 2—Rob Webb of Gooding and Jim Daxton of Owyhee, Nev., 5.3 seconds for $969.00 each side (July 4 ropers). 3—Tyler Whitlow of Kimberly and Chaz Kananen of Filer, 5.4 seconds for $767.13 each side (July 3 ropers). 4—Dex Maddox of Filer and Kurtis Barry of Wilder, 5.6 seconds for $565.25 each side (July 2 ropers). 5—Chris Staley of Leadore and Ty Schofield of Idaho Falls, 6.2 seconds for $363.38 each side (July 2 ropers). 6—Brett Sheehan of Shoshone and Blake Craig of Wendell, 6.8 seconds for $201.88 each side (July 3 ropers).

Entry fee $200 per team, 30 teams, $2,500 added money or $1,250 per side.

• Breakaway roping ($6,697.54 payout): 1 (tie)—Kara Burns of Rigby, 2.0 seconds for $1,439.97 (July 2 slack) and Zoie Bedke of Oakley, 2.0 seconds for $1,439.97 (July 4 rodeo). 3 (tie)—Jordan Minor of Hermiston, Ore., 2.1 seconds for $1,038.12 (July 2 slack) and Samantha Kerns of Haines, Ore., 2.1 seconds for $1,038.12 (July 2 slack). 5—Breanna Jenkins of Rexburg, 2.3 seconds for $736.73 (July 2 slack). 6—Kallie Foust of New Plymouth, 2.4 seconds for $535.80 (July 4). 7—Rylee Potter of Weiser, 2.5 seconds for $334.88 (July 2 slack). 8—Courtney Sanchez of Marsing, 2.8 seconds for $133.95 (July 3).

Entry fee $100, 58 riders and $1,250 added money.

• Barrel racing ($6,887.52 payout): 1—Italy Jo Sheehan of Shoshone, 15.722 seconds for $1,584.13 (July 3 rodeo). 2—Deanna Davis of Nampa, 16.037 seconds for $1,377.50 (July 4). 3—Acee Lucero of Richfield, 16.045 seconds for $1,170.88 (July 3). 4—Sloan McFarlane of Wilder, 16.122 seconds for $964.25 (July 3). 5—Janey Reeves of Melba, 16.148 seconds for $757.63 (July 2 slack). 6—Jo Jo Giannini of Caldwell, 16.170 seconds for $551.00 (July 4). 7—Amanda King of Dayville, Ore., 16.172 seconds for $344.38 (July 2 slack). 8—Angie Koyle of Jerome, 16.175 seconds for $137.75 (July 2 rodeo).

Fee $100, 60 riders, $1,250 added money.

• Tie down roping ($4,797.55 payout): 1 (tie)—Coy Surrett of Buhl, 8.7 seconds for $1,031.47 (July 4 rodeo) and Brey Yore of Rupert, 8.7 seconds for $1,031.47 (July 2). 3 (tie)—Britton Bedke of Oakley, 8.9 seconds for $743.62 (July 4); and Kurtis Barry of Wilder, 8.9 seconds for $743.62 (July 2). 5—Rob Webb of Gooding, 9.0 seconds for $527.73 (July 4). 6 (tie)—Kyle Van Biezen of Filer, 9.2 seconds for $179.91 (July 3); Jared Parke of Gooding, 9.2 seconds for $179.91 (July 3); Quint Bell of Paradise Valley, Nev., 9.2 seconds for $179.91 (July 4); and Augie Robinson of Nampa, 9.2 seconds for $179.91 (July 4).

Entry $100, 38 calf ropers, $1,250 added money.

• Bullriding: No qualified rides.

Entry $90, 16 bullriders, $2,000 added money.

• Saddle bronc ($2,574.52 payout): 1—Dakota Munns of St. Anthony, 81 points for $746.61 (July 4 rodeo). 2—Nathan Duckworth of New Plymouth, 80 points for $617.88 (July 3). 3—Luke Logan of Paradise Valley, Nev., 77 points for $489.16 (July 2). 4 (tie)—Clancy Glenn of Parma, 75 points for $296.07 (July 2); and Gabe McKay of Juntura, Ore., 75 points for $296.07 (July 2). 6—Jaret Angell of St. Anthony, 74 points for $128.73 (July 4).

Entry $55, 22 riders and $1,500 added money.

• Steer wrestling ($2,422.52 payout): 1 (tie)—Corey Rogers of Rupert, 6.7 seconds for $750.98 (July 3 rodeo) and Kyle Van Biezen of Filer, 6.7 seconds for $750.98 (July 3). 3—Jake Faulkner of Gooding, 8.6 seconds for $460.28 (July 4). 4—Quint Bell of Paradise Valley, Nev., 19.0 seconds for $290.70 (July 4). 5—Cole Eiguren of Fruitland, 20.9 seconds for $169.58 (July 2).

Entry $100, with 13 bulldoggers and $1,250 added money.

• Bareback bronc ($1,999.77 payout): 1—Brody Smith of Oakley, 81 points for $579.93 (July 4 rodeo). 2—Colton Clemens of Blackfoot, 80 points for $479.94 (July 2). 3—Cache Hill of Baker, Mt., 79 points for $379.95 (July 2). 4—Tyler Smith of Middleton, 77 points for $279.97 (July 3). 5 (tie)—Jake Thacker of Carlin, Nev., 75 points for $139.99 (July 4), and Austin Williams of Marsing, 75 points for $139.99 (July 4).

Entry $55, with 11 riders and $1,500 added money.

• Stock saddle bronc/ranch bronc ($1,947.49 payout): 1—Gabe McKay of Juntura, Ore., 81 points for $973.75 (July 2 rodeo). 2—Caden McCarthy of Bridger, Mt., 74 points for $324.58 (July 2); Joel Baer of Challis, 74 points for $324.58 (July 2); and Zalin Arritola of New Plymouth, 74 points for $324.58 (July 4).

Entry $55, 10 riders and $1,500 added money.

Novice saddle bronc: 1—Cole Biggers of Sweet, Idaho.

Email the writer: sports@mtexpress.com

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