Tuesday, May 07 2019
Years ago, the name Phil Gardenhire was synonymous with the sport of rodeo. His impact on the sport is still felt in nearly every rodeo across America.
For several years Poteau Oklahoma served as the home for a rodeo to honor this great man and his legacy in the sport. In 2019, the crew here at Big Rafter Rodeo felt it was important to bring this rodeo back to life and honor this great man.
The idea was in place and the details had been figured out, now the work starts. With the help of the Poteau community and the hard work of the Big Rafter Rodeo, the stage had been set for a weekend where Poteau Oklahoma would again see Phil Gardenhire memorialized through a weekend of rodeo.
Friday, May 3rd, had all the details in place and the only concerning factor would be if the Oklahoma weather would hold out for the evening. A short hour prior to the performance, a strong thunderstorm passed to the north of the Phil Gardenhire arena, with a few splashes of rain falling around the arena. It became obvious that this weekend and this event was destined for success, with nothing more than a typical Oklahoma breeze, night one kicked off with a bang.
The bucking stock seemed to like the weather and the conditions as they performed at the highest level and most of the Cowboys had their share of luck.
When the night closed the leader board in rough stock looked like this:
Joel Schlegel held the tops spot in Bareback with 76 points on Hombre, Joe Harper went for 82 points on Who Knows and in the Bull Riding, and Lane Noble put on a top-notch ride for 88 points on Unhinged.
Night two set up to be one of the best nights of rodeo, we have seen all year, with perfect temperatures and nice sunny skies all the conditions were right for an amazing night of rodeo.
Boy, what a night of rodeo did fans in Poteau, Oklahoma get to see. The stock was out of this world and the Cowboys seemed to match the feeling. In Bareback, Bill Tutor, took to the chutes last knowing that he had to top Taylor Broussard’s 81.5-point ride on Marie Laveau. Mr. Tutor drew one of the top horses in the Big Rafter String in 308 Vegas Confused; the two would go on to team up for a score of 85 points and win the event. In Saddle Bronc, Trent Burd, was met with the same situation that had transpired in Bareback; being last out Mr. Burd knew he had to pull together an 82-point ride or better to win the event. Another top performing horse this year, 1E2 Push Play has every potential to taking a cowboy to the leader board and this is exactly what happened. Mr. Burd and Push Play put together an 82-point score and tied for the win.
Bull Riding shook out a little different on night two, the nice weather and big crowd seemed to put the advantage toward the bulls. None of the bull riders managed to make the whistle but Cory Atwell did put on a great show while he was teamed up with 338 Economical Impact. The two were well on their way to an event-winning ride but fell short with a time of 7.7 seconds.
As the curtain came down on a great weekend of rodeo in Poteau, Oklahoma it was very apparent that the Phil Gardenhire Pro Rodeo and the community had regained the life of PRCA action.