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Rodeo brings cowboys, cowgirls to town

Rodeo brings cowboys, cowgirls to town

A Saddle Bronc competitor tries to last eight seconds on this bucking bronco at the Stanislaus County Fair on Thursday.


POSTED July 23, 2010 11:49 p.m.

Wrestling steers, riding a bucking bronco and racing around barrels were all common sights on Thursday night in the FoodMaxx Arena as cowboys and cowgirls took the stage for the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo event this year at the Stanislaus County Fair.

Eight Stanislaus County residents were among the approximately 70 professional rodeo competitors who participated in the fair event. Only one local cowboy, however, made it to the top of his event.

Oakdale resident Mike George placed second along with Kris Goodman from Dos Palos in the team roping competition after five seconds of calf roping, earning them each $792.30.

Even though George was the only one out of the eight Stanislaus County residents to place, one Turlock cowgirl took her barrel racing to the next level as she “became one” with her horse.  

Pitman High graduate Tasha Holmes didn’t place this year, but she was excited for the event and the opportunity to compete with her new horse “Uptown’s Little Girl,” also known as “Vegas.” She got her horse from Hagen’s Ranch, where they broke the horse for her, but Holmes trained the horse herself for barrel racing.

“It felt good,” Holmes said. “You have a lot of adrenaline going before (the event), but once you get going it is easy.”

This is the second year Holmes has competed in the rodeo at the Stanislaus County Fair. She has been competing in rodeos up and down the state for the past two years, she said. Even though she is a newbie on the rodeo circuit, she has been riding horses all her life.

Holmes said she has developed a love for the fast-paced competitions. But her true passion lies in barrel racing and that connection with her horse.

“The camaraderie between you and your horse is amazing,” she said. “Barrel racing is the only sport where you are really in tune with your horse.”

She described barrel racing as more than just teaching her horse the pattern of the barrels. She said it is being in touch with her horse as they both race against time around the barrels.

“If your horse is on and you’re not, you lose,” Holmes said. “If you’re on and your horse isn’t, you lose.”

Holmes is also working on roping with another one of her horses, but that bond she has with Vegas keeps her competing in barrel racing.

 “You learn to communicate better in life from forming that level of communication with your horse,” she said.

Between the relationship she builds with horse and the adrenaline before the competition, Holmes said she has found her calling. 

“Me and her are so together,” Holmes said. “It is a lot of fun. You’re adrenaline builds up before the race but once you run, you don’t hear anything. You don’t hear the crowd. You don’t hear the bulls moving around in the shoots. You just focus.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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