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Freedom Rodeo draws nearly 6,000 to Basin City

Jul 13, 2023

By: Katherine Trowbridge

Photos: Lety Guzman, Katherine Trowbridge

With a declaration of “Let Freedom . . . Rodeo” the fourth annual Freedom Rodeo continued their July 4th tradition taking place July 3, 4, and 5 in Basin City. Just shy of 6,000 guests made their way to the Freedom Rodeo arena this year for the PRCA sanctioned rodeo events. While it is the fourth year, this was the third as a PRCA event on the Columbia Basin Circuit, and perhaps the largest to date, bringing in top name competitors.

Freedom was the reason for the first rodeo back in 2020 and that declaration of freedom continues today. Freedom Rodeo President Kameron Jenks shared, “At our meeting before the rodeo, there were people in tears. All these committee members...they’re first class people and they like their freedom.”

Guests, and competitors, alike were amazed by the rodeo arena and expansive grass seating area. Jenks said, “I drove around and spoke to 40 or 50 cowboys and cowgirls and the one thing they said about our venue is it’s one of the most unique venue they’ve ever been to. And I think it’s the grass seating. It’s the location.”

Rodeo isn’t new to Basin City, in the 1970’s there was a rodeo tied in with fourth of July events but that rodeo ended in the mid-1980’s. In the late 90’s the community brought in some events for local kids like calf roping but it has never been to this extent.

Sally Cottrell, with the Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch, one of the rodeo’s largest sponsors, shared why they support it, “Because the Bailies [founders of the youth ranch] loved the community…It just seemed like the right thing to do, at the right time.” Cottrell shared memories of helping build the original arena as a little girl and now helping to build the current arena as a sponsor. She added, “We just needed freedom and the community came together again, just like the Field of Dreams. They came together to put this together and bigger and better every year. It’s just awesome.”

Jenks added, “You know, it’s pretty amazing what you get with the right people, in the right places, at the right time. And you know, it’s just impressive what we’ve come from 2020 ‘til now.”

Cottrell said, “Where else do you really start with a prayer? Where else do you see the flag and people crying…” Jenks interjected, “You look at rodeo in general - that’s the one thing I love about rodeo. It’s freedom, it’s the military, it’s the first responders - EMTs, fire fighters, veterans, prayer. Rodeo is one sport that really brings people together.”

Each night the rodeo honored local people - on Monday it was our local Veterans, Tuesday was first responders, and Wednesday was a tribute to Pioneers including Oscar and Mary Tschirky Jim Lancaster, and George Walker.

Lori Mercer was a first time Freedom Rodeo attendee this year. She recalled, “It’s definitely upscale from what I remember as a kid. They’ve done an amazing job. I really just can’t say enough about it. I mean, I think it’s amazing. I hope it continues to grow. The kids love it. It’s nostalgic for me as somebody who came here as a little kid. So, I love that this is part of our community. I think it’s pretty impressive. The grass seating is fabulous. I love the way they have the kinda open to the public drinking area, you know over 21. And then they have the specialty rooms. They’ve done a great job.”

Vendors reaped the benefits of the rodeo as they had a variety of foods and other specialty items available to purchase. 509 Coffee sold over 600 drinks in the three day event.

Frickster’s Barbecue said, “Definitely we’ll be back.” They shared that it had been a long time since they attended a rodeo and “this one is pretty cool.”

Speaking of the rodeo - there were 10 of the top 20 saddle bronc riders competing right here in Basin City. The Bull riding was exciting. Guests shared the competitors’ excitement as the arena heated up. Many competing here will go on to the PRCA nationals in Reno later this year. For locals, and some guests, the Mutton Bustin and Wild Cow Milking is their chance to compete in the arena. However, Prosser won the Wild Cow Milking beating out the local boys on Wednesday.


The crowd-pleasing Wild Cow Milking competitions drew competitors from Pasco, Yakima, Othello, Prosser, Toppenish, as well as locally. The over all winners came from Prosser winning both on Monday and Wednesday for a total of $2,000 in prize money. Toppenish took Tuesdays winning at $1,000.

Mutton Bustin gave youngsters a chance to try rodeo for the first time. Contestants ranged in age from four to six and came from all around the area including the Tri-Cities, Waitsburg, Benton City, North Powder, Oregon, and Poolville, Texas.

Monday's winners were: Callie Huck of Kennewick, Kolton Whitby of Mesa, and Madison Eastman of Waitsburg.

Tuesday's winners: Trent Rowley of Mesa, Lil JJ Magana, Mesa, and Jett Roylance, Mesa.

Wednesday: Liam Rodriguez, Connell, Cayson Clyde, Connell, and Zane Nored, Poolville Texas (a contestants son).

PRCA Rodeo Results:

All-around cowboy: Shane Proctor, $5,777, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.

Bareback riding: 1. (tie) Jacob Lees, on Bridwell Pro Rodeos' Ted, and Jayco Roper, on Corey & Lange Rodeo's Buckaroo, 83.5 points, $4,422 each; 3. Trenten Montero, 82, $2,836; 4. Dean Thompson, 81, $1,835; 5. Gavin French, 78, $1,168; 6. Mason Stuller, 77.5, $834; 7. Dylan Riggins, 77, $667; 8. Mat Turner, 76, $501.

Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Cash Robb, 3.7 seconds, $2,801 each; 3. Payden McIntyre, 3.8, $2,276; 4. Justin Shaffer, 4.1, $1,926; 5. Traver Johnson, 4.2, $1,751; 6. Laramie Warren, 4.5, $1,576; 7. (tie) Brandon Harrison, Joshua Hefner and Blake Knowles, 4.6, $1,226 each; 10. (tie) Stockton Graves, Nick Guy and Jason Thomas, 4.8, $233 each.

Team roping: 1. Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord, 4.8 seconds, $4,335 each; 2. Jake Smith/Douglas Rich, 5.0, $3,825; 3. (tie) Lightning Aguilera/Jared Fillmore and Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1, $3,060 each; 5. (tie) Keven Daniel/Travis Graves and Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.2, $2,167 each; 7. Cutter Machado/Dalton Pearce, 5.3, $1,785; 8. Jake Clay/Kollin VonAhn, 5.5, $1,530; 9. (tie) Wyatt Bray/Josh Patton and Dan Williams Jr./Cody Stewart, 5.6, $1,147 each; 11. Chad Masters/Trey Yates, 5.8, $765; 12. Brenten Hall/Paden Bray, 6.7, $510.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Q Taylor, on Corey & Lange Rodeo's Diamond Fever, and Jake Watson, on Corey & Lange Rodeo's Cypress Toddy, 87.5 points, $4,833 each; 3. Wyatt Casper, 86.5, $3,100; 4. Kade Bruno, 85, $2,006; 5. Mitch Pollock, 83.5, $1,277; 6. Parker Fleet, 82.5, $912; 7. Layton Green, 82, $729; 8. (tie) Logan Cook, Tyrel Roberts and Ryder Sanford, 80, $182 each.

Tie-down roping: 1. Matt Shiozawa, 7.6 seconds, $4,834; 2. John Douch, 7.7, $4,265; 3. (tie) Monty Lewis and Bo Pickett, 8.2, $3,412 each; 5. Riley Mason Webb, 8.3, $2,559; 6. Brush Minton, 9.0, $2,275; 7. Jake Pratt, 9.1, $1,990; 8. (tie) Colton Farquer and Cooper Mills, 9.2, $1,564 each; 10. Cody Waldrop, 9.3, $1,137; 11. Cash Hooper, 9.8, $853; 12. Stetson Vest, 9.9, $567.

Barrel racing: 1. Megan McLeod-Sprague, 17.30 seconds, $4,266; 2. Pamela Capper-Coker, 17.52, $3,413; 3. Ashley Castleberry, 17.53, $2,773; 4. Kaycie Kayser, 17.54, $2,133; 5. (tie) Shelby Bates and Jennifer Kalafatic, 17.61, $1,493 each; 7. Mary Thomas, 17.64, $1,066; 8. Tristan Parrish, 17.65, $960; 9. Marty Warren, 17.69, $853; 10. Jordan Minor, 17.71, $747; 11. (tie) Lacy Diefenbach and Carlee Otero, 17.72, $587 each; 13. (tie) Grace Gardiner and Jessie Telford, 17.74, $373 each; 15. Teri Bangart, 17.75, $213.

Bull riding: * 1. Shane Proctor, 83 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo's Dirty Dan, $7,702; 2. Cody Teel, 75, $6,354; 3. Sage Kimzey, 72, $5,199; no other qualified rides. *(all totals include ground money).

With all the local sponsorships for the 2023 Basin City Freedom Rodeo the total pay off came in just shy of $200,000. The rodeo committee is excited to see how this rodeo continues to grow.

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