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Junior ropers, riders compete at Turlock Horsemen's event
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Cassi Wilkerson from Hughson finished fourth in the girls breakaway at Saturday's junior rodeo event. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds hosted the area's youngest cowboys and cowgirls on Saturday during the 60th annual Turlock Horsemen’s Club Junior Rodeo.

Local ropers and riders fared well in the Northern California Junior Rodeo Association event, although many compete just for the fun of it.

Cheyenne Horner from Turlock  took first in the girl’s pole bending with a final time of 21.116. She also placed fifth in steer stopping with a time of 7.32. Horner and Hilmar representative Whitlee Burgess took eighth in team roping with a time of 33.84. Burgess also took sixth in the girl’s pole bending with a time of 24.166.

From Hughson, Cassi Wilkerson ranked second in the senior girls pole bending and finished with a final time of 21.895. Wilkerson took fourth in the girls breakaway 14-18 with a final time of 4.08. She topped a fifth place finish in the senor girls goat tying with a time of 12.59.

“I felt good out there. I didn’t have the best stopping steering run, but I'm just going out there and doing the best possible job,” Wilkerson said. “There are lots of great people out here. I just keep practicing and keep my head up. Keep trying no matter what happens.”

Jacob Bairos of Modesto, who  just got into rodeo less than 10 months ago, took third place in the boys tie down roping with a final time of 25.34. Bairos also ranked second in the boys steer wrestling with a final time of 5.73. Alongside Austin Paddock, the two ranked third in team roping with a time of 9.39.

“I tried to score well and ride through the whole and catch the steer,” Bairos said. “I think the challenge and competition drives me. I saw a lot of tough competition and a lot of my friends were out here. It was fun.”

Saturday marked the fourth event for the NCJRA during its 12-event calendar for 2013. The next scheduled event is the 63rd Annual Woodside Jr. Rodeo, which will be held on July 4.

Rodeo action will return to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds at 6:30 p.m. July 18 with the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association during the fair's 10-day run.  The rodeo is included with the price of fair admission.