By Paul Struck, Editor
The incredible growth and popularity of the annual Cherokee PRCA Rodeo could be no more evident than the outstanding success of last week's record-breaking three-day extravaganza here.
The huge rodeo weekend was sufficiently capped with Saturday night's record performance when 2,141 fans bought tickets and trekked through the gates to the standing-room-only arena.
That total swelled the paid attendance for all three rodeo performances to another record 4,638 fans, despite thunderstorm warnings and threatening skies all three days. There were 1,171 paid admissions on Thursday night, and 1,326 on Friday, according to Cherokee Chamber of Commerce director Joni Pingel.
The popular Cherokee PRCA Rodeo Parade Saturday also was a superb success with thousands lining U.S. Highway 59 through downtown Cherokee, from Bluff Street to the County Fairgrounds on the southern edge of the city.
With more than 215 cowboys and cowgirls competing for a total purse of $27,575, the Cherokee Rodeo was a haven for world-class contestants, including World Champions and many National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifiers.
The lure of the growing Cherokee PRCA Rodeo lies in the supreme effort supplied by the Cherokee Rodeo Board, the Chamber, and the talents and national reputation of rodeo producers/stock contractors Bob & Donita Barnes and family comprising Barnes/MJM Rodeo of Cherokee and Peterson.
The Barnes' three adult children - Marty, Mitzi and John, and their families, all are integral to the nationally acclaimed Barnes/MJM Rodeo operations.
Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, Neb., currently among the top in world steer wrestling standings, was the Cherokee Rodeo All-Around Champion this year after winning the calf roping with a purse of $1,191.54, and tying for third in the saddle bronc competition to earn another $503.81, for a total of $1,695.35.
Other world standings contestants and NFR qualifiers placing at the Cherokee Rodeo included Shaun Stroh of Gledive, Mont., and Todd Rengel of Stephanville, Texas in saddle bronc riding; B.J. Schumacher of Hillsboro, Wisc. in bull riding; Tim Wilkinson of Fort Scott, Kan. in bareback riding; and reigning world champion Kelly Timberman of Mills, Wyo., and former world champion Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas in bareback riding.
A real credit to the Barnes/MJM Rodeo stock, Timberman, the current world champion in bareback, finished third at Cherokee board #2E8 Northern Pike.
"This was a good one, Mr. Paul," noted Bob Barnes when contacted about the success of this year's rodeo, one of many produced by Barnes/MJM Rodeo throughout the country each year.
"We had a record crowd Saturday. The place was so full, I think they were turning people away. We can keep growing this thing into something really big. I really believe that. We might need a bigger place."
The 2005 Cherokee PRCA Rodeo Results:
Bareback Riding - Tim Wilkinson, Fort Scott, Kan., 86 score, $1,033.13; Dustin Reeves, Owanka, S.D., 86, $1,033.13; Kelly Timberman, Mills, Wyo., 85, $534.37; Joe Gunderson, Agar, S.D., 85, $534.37; Jake Garon, Timber Lake, S.D., 84, $249.38; Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 83, $178.13.
Saddle Bronc - Marty Hebb Eagle Butte, S.D., 87, $1,348.05; J.J. Elshere, Luinn, S.D., 86, $1.021.25; Ryan Elshere, Elm Springs, S.D., 85, $503.81; Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 85, $503.81; Todd Rangel, Stephanville, Texas, 85, $503.81; Keith DeMoss, Crowville, La., 84, $102.12; Shaun Stroh, Gelndive, Mont., 84, $102.12.
Bull Riding - Paul Weinberger, Breien, N.D., 90, $1,191.30; Josh Mulholland, Richland Center, Wisc., 85, $902.50; Eric Gunkelman, Alta, 84, $649.80; B.J. Schumacher, Hillsboro, Wisc., 82, $342.95; Travis Sellers, Wentzville, Mo., 82, $342.95; Charles Zoss, Forestburg, S.D., 80, $180.50.
Calf Roping - Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 10 seconds, $1,191.54; Troy Amoss, Naylor, Mo., 10.4, $986.10; Wade Steffen, Richmond, Ill., 11.2, $780.66; Owen Fagerhaug, Plankinton, S.D., 11.8, $575.23; Joe Busch, Neola, 12.3, $369.79; Scotty Shelton, Woodbine, 13.1, $205.44.
Steer Wrestling - Gabe Taylor, Valentine, Neb., 4.7 seconds, $1,212.20; Jake Hettinger, Craig, Colo., 4.8, $898.70; Dan Morton, Ellsworth, Minn., 4.8, $898.70; Allen Good, Long Valley, S.D., 5.1, $585.20; Shawn Schuld, Antioch, Ill., 5.2, $376.20; Bill Skinner, La Crosse, Wisc., 5.3, $209.
Barrel Racing - Tammy Whyte, Eau Claire, Wisc., 15.53 seconds, $901.15; Maren Luedemann, Buffalo, Minn., 15.89, $772.42; Sabrina Miller, Springville, 15.91, $643.68; Brenda Rechtenbaugh, Sioux Falls, S.D., 15.93, $557.86; Diane Helmin, Ham Lake, Minn., 15.94, $429.12; Tiffany Lammers, Hartford, S.D., 16.04, $343.30; Rhonda Lee Potts, Boone, 16.08, 185.95; Margo Ransom, Paola, Kan., 16.08, $185.95; Lori Amoss, Naylor, Mo., 16.08, $185.95; Dee Gibbs, Maxwell, 16.11, $85.82.