Rodeo ropes in huge festival following

Event a highlight of Bear Paw after weekend return to Lions Park


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Palmer’s Hans Brinky competes in the team roping event during the Bear Paw Rodeo on Saturday, July 13 at Lions Park in Eagle River.

MIKE NESPER

Rodeo Alaska wanted to bring rodeo back to Chugiak-Eagle River.

Given this year’s Bear Paw Festival theme, 2013 was a good year to start.

Under the theme Roundup at the Bear Paw Corral, a rodeo was added to the annual festivities in Eagle River for the first time in several years, said event director Merry Braham.

It was a huge hit.

Crowds filled Lions Park last Friday, Saturday and Sunday to watch athletes compete in a variety of events including barrel racing, team roping, and of course, bull riding.

“Overall, great turnout,” Rodeo Alaska co-owner Frank Koloski said Sunday, July 14. “We’ve been embraced by this community.”

The rodeo, which was also sponsored by GMC Truck, wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, Koloski said.

“They helped put this all together,” he said.

The event was a great addition to Bear Paw, Braham said, and credited Rodeo Alaska with making it a success.

“They’ve just been fantastic to work with,” she said. “I hope they come back next year.”

Koloski’s planning on it.

“I look forward to it,” he said.

While plenty of Alaskans competed during the three days, participants from the Lower 48 also put their skills to the test.

“We had a lot of out-of-staters,” Koloski said. “Even one from Florida.”

On Friday, Mike Sunderland’s score of 80 gave him first place in bull riding. Andrew Bishoff was second (75) and Cody Meyers placed third (70).

In barrel racing, Jake Fowler won with a time of 14 seconds flat. Shelly Bindon was second and Tonya Brewer took third.

In the second division barrel racing, Chugiak’s Tamie Vickers was first in 14.518. Teresa Bitterich was second in 14.542 and Becky Clark placed third in 14.552.

Bitterich won the third division in 15.176. Ranee Preboski was second in 15.259 and Brewer placed third in 15.347.

Tammy Sunderland won the fourth division in 16.099. Riley Veillon finished second in 18.053 and Shelby Pawliski was third in 21.398.

Chelsey Hackett won pole bending in 22.417 seconds ahead of Bindon (23.721) in second.

On Saturday and Sunday, Mike Sakraida and Bobby Hone won the double mugging event in 27.97.

JD Wilson took first in bull riding with a score of 79. Andrew Bishoff and Kraig Morris tied for second with 74 apiece and Sunderland was fourth with 73.

Chris Flickinger and Garrett Willis — who was named All Around Cowboy — won team roping in 11.53, nearly eight seconds faster than Danielle Warbington and Shawn Rutherford in second.

Bindon won the women’s breakaway roping even in 4.19 seconds. All Around Cowgirl Christian McCormick (4.85) took second and Warbington (5.03) placed third.

Koloski won the men’s breakaway roping in 6.26 seconds. Fowler took second. Charlie Willis and Melissa Fowler won the ribbon roping in 14.92. Garrett Willis and Johnna Drew were second and Billy Rutherford and Bryce Vickers took third.

Dean Kitson won the saddle bronco event with a score of 74.

McCormick’s average time of 14.083 seconds was enough for a first-place finish in barrel racing. Bindon (14.135) finished second and Brewer (14.548) was third.

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