Ford, Johnson

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— Jarrod Ford, a bull and bareback rider from Greeley, took the top all-around cowboy honors for the season at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, while Wyoming cowboy Chet Johnson swept the saddle bronc awards.

Ford was also the rodeo series bull riding champion. Under Steamboat's rules, a cowboy must compete in at least two events a minimum of three times to be eligible for the all-around award. Ford squeezed in with his bareback ride in Friday's rodeo.

Shipley said Ford established a sizeable lead after winning the bull riding event in Steamboat's Cowboy Roundup Days held over the Fourth of July.

In saddle bronc riding, Johnson of Gillette, Wyo., won both the event title and the prestigious Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding.

Named in honor of long-time Yampa Valley cowboy Thomas Patrick Mantle, the winner of the saddle bronc riding receives a $2,000 check and a Winchester rifle. Johnson took both prizes with his ride on Shindig.

Six-year-old Casey Barnes of Maybell took top honors in the Pee Wee Barrel racing for the second year in a row. His younger brother, Cutter Barnes, finished second.

Ranch raised, young Casey used his mother's team roping horse to win a prized belt buckle for his efforts.

"The bad news for all the Pee Wee barrel racers is that, at 6, he has another year, and he may get an unprecedented third title," said John Shipley, president of the rodeo series.

In team roping, Laramie's Paul Beckett placed five times with partner Leroy Milligan of Torrington, Wyo., during the 2002 season so the two were tied for the lead heading into week 10.

But Beckett entered with a different partner in the final rodeo, which Milligan was unable to enter. Beckett placed and consequently won money to move himself into sole possession of first place.

In barrel racing, former winner Julie Haskins of Maybell was poised to pick up another title, but could not make the weekend rodeo. That allowed Hotchkiss' Belinda Brownell to overtake Haskins for the season belt buckle.

In the No.7 Team Roping event, Ron Boettler of Eckert hung on for the win over partner Pake Younger of Grand Junction. Since the event is not sanctioned by the PRCA, Younger could have entered up to three times with different partners to try and overtake Boettler for the win, but the two opted to enter once and together preserving Boettler's $53.56 margin of victory.

"If Pake had roped with someone else and won he could have taken a second-straight title at Ron's expense," Shipley said. "But they went to the pay window together."

The calf roping, bareback riding and steer wrestling titles were basically wrapped up prior to the final rodeo.

Chris Downey of Cheyenne won the calf roping. Gary Burgener of Douglas, Wyo., took the top spot in bareback and Jimmy Allen of Fruita was the top steer wrestler this season.

Brent Romick, chairman of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, said the sponsors, cowboys and fans made the 2002 season truly exceptional.

"Without the sponsorship you don't have a rodeo," Romick said. "The contestants were fantastic and came back week in and week out, but you've got to have the sponsorship and the good cowboys and then it becomes natural with the spectators. They come to see a quality show and putting the component of sponsorship in front was a real benefit. In addition, one of the biggest benefits this year, in a tough year economically, was that the city absolutely rallied outside the arena, and they also did a great job."

Romick also commented on the contractor Dona Vold Larsen's bucking stock, particularly bulls Hard Copy and Panda.

"Anytime any weekly rodeo can have two bulls that split the round at the National Finals Rodeo standing in your arena 10 weeks a year is a real compliment to the quality of production that the Broken Arrow Company gives to us," Romick said.

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