Chutes closed

Summer rodeo series comes to an end

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— Monte Pickering missed his dad's big moment Saturday night at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series end-of-season awards party.

He was fast asleep in his mother's arms as his father, Eric Pickering, stepped onto the stage at the Ore House at Pine Grove Restaurant to accept his belt buckle for winning the steer wrestling title in the Steamboat series.

His son, who will turn 1 on Sept. 5, had tried to stay awake for most of the night, but by 11:30 p.m. nature won the battle and the little guy gave in to his desire to sleep. Dad wasn't mad. In fact he's going to make sure his son remembers the moment for years to come.

"I'm going to give this one to my son," Pickering said of his newest belt buckle. "I don't go (to rodeos) that hard anymore, but this is a great series and we always try to come here if we can. It's nice to win."

Pickering said the key to winning this year's title was taking the Fourth of July rodeo and managing to place in a couple of other events over the course of the 10-week series.

Since 1992, the Parshall cowboy has made a habit of winning in Steamboat -- he now has four buckles from rodeo series. He said he hopes to return next year to make it five.

"As long as I feel good I'm going to keep coming back," Pickering said. "This series is well run and it's just a lot of fun to compete."

Other top cowboys and cowgirls taking home the hand-made buckles included Luke Lancaster of Bennett and Jason Gilchrist of Parker in team roping.

Colorado Springs' Ryan Rodewald took the season honor in the saddle bronc and Zach Curran was the top bareback rider.

Bull rider Josh Koschel of Loveland wasn't able to pick up his buckle for winning this year's bull riding title in person. He got stepped on by a bull in Friday night's rodeo after his ride and was at Yampa Valley Medical Center recovering during the party. However, before getting hurt he managed to score an 83 and move past Jed Moore in the final standings. Moore, a teacher from Cheyenne, was in Europe on vacation with his family and didn't compete.

"I think Jed would have really liked to have been here, but his schedule just didn't work out," said John Shipley, announcer and president of Steamboat's rodeo board.

J.G Marshall of Elizabeth roped his way to this year's tie-down roping title by edging last year's winner, Chris Downey of Cheyenne.

Kiowa's Rannette Taylor came out on top of a tight race in the barrel racing. She managed to hold off Judy McCaughey of Larkspur and Julie Haskins of Maybell on the final weekend to earn the title. She is currently fourth in the Mountain States Circuit.

Roughstock rider Chad Eubank of Montrose was crowned the all-round cowboy for the 2003 series.

Routt County cowboys took home the buckles in the non-pro events in this year's series.

Kody May ran away with the No. 7 title and Casey Barnes earned the Peewee barrel racing title for the third time.

The big winner on the night was 19-year-old Britt Trumbull who left the party with $2,000 and a commemorative Winchester Rifle after winning the Pat Mantle Memorial Saddle Bronc Riding. The Wyoming cowboy scored a 73.5 in the ride-off to beat out McCaughey.

McCaughey was the only other cowboy to stay on in the finals, but fell short, netting a 69 from the four judges.

Shipley said the field of bucking horses for the final weekend was one of the best he's seen.

"We had three riders bucked over the fence last weekend," Shipley said. "I can't remember the last time the horses scored a hat trick, but it was fun to watch."

Shipley said Friday and Saturday night's rodeos were the perfect way to cap off another great year. He said the weather could have been better for Friday's performance, but Saturday's crowd helped make up for it.


--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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