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Cowboys -- and girls gather for annual event in Isleton

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Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2004 10:00 pm

ISLETON -- Hay, dust and even the occasional cowboy hat blew across the dirt floor of the rodeo arena in Isleton on Sunday as a very stiff delta breeze replaced Saturday's stifling heat during the two-day Rodeo on the River.

According to many attendees of the 9th annual event, Saturday's rodeo was one of sweltering temperatures in the 100-plus degree range, with no breeze whatsoever. Sunday, however, steady winds blew through the area, bringing some cooling, but adding a great deal of dust and debris to the air.

While calf-ropers and drill teams struggled with some aspects of the windy day, the bulls were downright windproof as they lurched and jolted across the arena, tossing the majority of riders from their backs as the bull riding competition kicked off day two of the International Professional Rodeo Association's Western Region Finals.

According to event chairman and president of the Isleton Chamber of Commerce, Ralph Hand, in spite of this weekend's heat and wind, the event is still one of Isleton's best and is only continuing to get better.

As well as coming from all over California, riders from Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Nevada make up the western region competitors at the Rodeo on the River.

"It's become an important rodeo, not just a local event for fun and prizes, but it's a last chance for a lot of these cowboys to get some points in order to go on to the grand nationals in Oklahoma," said Hand.

In its ninth consecutive year, Hand said that the Isleton Chamber of Commerce will definitely keep hosting the event.

"We've been talking with the IPRA about expanding the competition. We're even looking at setting aside 40 to 50 acres for an event complex, with rodeo, 4-H and riding grounds," said Hand.

"The town of Isleton is a cowboy favorite. They voted it as their favorite rodeo town in the western region," added Isleton Chamber of Commerce Director, Charli Hand. Ralph Hand said that he believes the event will continue to grow and will also continue to emerge as a premier rodeo event.

Other events at the Rodeo on the River included: Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Calf Roping, Barrel Racing, Team Roping, Bareback Riding. According to the Isleton CoC web site, the top 10 contestants in the IPRA's Western Region will be competed for $21,000 in prize money and an additional $5,000.00 in awards.

Contact reporter J. Paul Bruton at paulb@lodinews.com

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