It’s time to buckle up.
Today marks the start of the Fallon Rodeo for high school and middle school cowboys and cowgirls. The event begins at 10 a.m. with cutting at the Churchill County Fairgrounds followed by the Exceptional Rodeo at 10:45 a.m.
On Saturday, the high school and junior high school athletes take to the arena in chase of winning buckles, breast collars and more. The rodeo kicks off at 9 a.m., while Sunday’s event begins at 8 a.m.
“It’s a very tough competition,” said Steve Beyer, one of the Fallon club’s directors. “We have kids come from all over the state.”
The rodeo, though, starts with a somber tone as a moment of silence will be held in honor of the late Rachel Hendrix during Saturday’s Grand Entry. Hendrix, a cowgirl from Fallon and who was competing at Southern Utah University, died in January.
Beyer said many of the athletes will wear purple shirts on Saturday to honor Hendrix. Her favorite color was purple.
In addition, patches will be on sale for $5 and proceeds will be donated to Hendrix’s scholarship fund.
“Our kids … made up purple shirts,” Gomes said. “They will be wearing purple shirts and ribbons in remembrance of her. The kids are all very concise of that tragic loss.”
Beyer and Samantha Gomes, who is assisting with preparations, said the Fallon athletes have hit the community for support and funds to secure the livestock for the rodeo.
They said fans can expect a great event with high-level competition from athletes throughout Nevada. Gomes estimated between 80-100 cowboys and cowgirls will compete in the three-day rodeo.
“It’s luck of the draw for sure in rodeo,” Beyer said. “You can be the best bullrider in the state and it can knock you out.”
In the arena, Fallon is well represented and numerous cowboys and cowgirls sit at the top or are near the lead in their respective events.
Caleb and Cord Hendrix, Rachel Hendrix’s brothers and who rodeo independently, sit first (105.5 points) and second (102), respectively in the boys cutting. Jessica Gomes of the Fallon club is third in girls cutting with 74.5.
In team roping, Mackay Spyrow is tied for first with Moapa’s Jordan Taylor with 74. In addition to Spyrow, Blain Jensen is seventh (51), Jes Tews 15th (39), Sam Goings is 30th (17), Levi Quillan is 33rd (15), Sydney Howard, who rodeos for the Washoe club, is 41st (seven) and Kellie Quillan is 44th (five).
Howard (64) and Billy Quillan (29), meanwhile, each sit in third in goat tying and bull riding, respectively. Howard is also third in breakaway roping with 53.5, while Quillan is fourth in steer wrestling with 10.
In tie down roping, Cord Hendrix is 11th (27) followed by Tews in 12th (25), Caleb Hendrix in 14th (20), Goings in 16th (19), Quillan in 18th (12), Jensen in 19th (10) and Spyrow in 21st (eight). Gomes rounds out the individual events as she is currently 34th in pole bending.
As for the chase for an all-around title, Spyrow is 14th (82), followed by Quillan in 17th (74), Tews in 18th (64), Caleb Hendrix in 19th (64), Jensen in 20th (61), Goings in 27th (36) and Levi Quillan in 43rd (15).
For the girls, Howard is 10th with 135.5 followed by Kellie Quillan in 47th (five) and Gomes in 54th (one).
“The community has been wonderful in supporting us,” Samantha Gomes said. “It costs a lot to put on a rodeo.”