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Local ropers, riders finish strong at Junior Rodeo event
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Kevin Santos of Turlock races down the finish line with a smile during the junior barrel races at the 61st annual Turlock Horsemens Club Junior Rodeo on Saturday. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The youngest cowboys and cowgirls from the area competed at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds during the 61st annual Turlock Horsemen’s Club Junior Rodeo on Saturday.

The Northern California Junior Rodeo Association’s season has been in full tilt since the end of April, bringing boys and girls as young as five years old together with middle and high school kids to enjoy the competitive atmosphere of the rodeo.

Even though many of the athletes compete just for fun, local ropers and riders still managed to see great results in the NCJRA event including eight Turlock natives.

“If I don’t win, it’s not really a big bummer because we're just out here to have fun and be ourselves and just do what we do,” said Turlocker Aleah Silva, who competed at the junior level for girls.

Although Silva’s results were unavailable by press time, many other local riders saw great finishes.

Turlock native Londyn Brazil took third place in the junior girls barrel races with a score of 18.577 and managed to capture a fourth place result in the girls goat tying with an 11.97.

Cheyenne Horner of Turlock saw a first place result in the senior girls pole bending with a time of 21.785. Horner also finished sixth in the girls goat tying with a 12.04.

Horner and Hilmar representative Whitlee Burgess were disqualified in the team roping, however, individually, Burgess took third in the juniors single stake with a time of 7.526 and second in the girls pole bending with a 23.269.

Turlock’s Andrew Santos earned two fourth place finishes in the chute dogging and juniors single stake and a 10th place result  in the junior boys goat tying with a time of 21.41.

“Really, there are no words to explain it; just have to thank the horses for letting us ride and not bucking us off and want to thank my parents for bringing me,” said Santos. “I enjoy doing it because a lot of our friends are out here and we have fun. I want to thank all my sponsors, they helped out a lot this year with everything, especially because I want to be a professional.”

His brother, Alex Santos, took ninth and 12th place in the senior steer stopping and senior boys chute dogging.

Turlock’s Lane Wheeler captured a first, sixth and 13th place results. In the team roping the tandem of Wheeler and Caleb Green was good enough for first place with a time of 9.59.

In the junior and senior team roping, Wheeler teamed up with Chad Parson as the two eventually landed in sixth place. Wheeler finished in the 13th spot in the senior boys chute dogging with a 14.38.

Saturday’s event was the third and fourth stop for the NCJRA during its 13-event calendar for 2014. The next scheduled event, the 55th Annual Livermore Junior Rodeo, will be held on Saturday. For the list of all events, visit