Pioneer Days Rodeo helps kick off weekend’s celebrations

Dennis Lines ropes a calf during the ribbon roping competition. The 2017 Gila Valley Pioneer Days Family Rodeo. - Gila Valley Central Photo

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – The annual Pioneer Days Rodeo helped kick off the weekend’s celebrations on the right foot at the Vard Lines Memorial Arena on Friday night, emphasizing family, wholesome fun and a boot-stomping good time.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Justin Thompson gathers his thoughts as he prepares to help guide the calves back into the pen.

Unlike more conventional rodeos, the Pioneer Days Rodeo is a family-fun event where ropers get to interact with their children or younger siblings through fun events such as the cow hide race.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Children get ready for the stick horse race.

Defending her championship from last year, Megan Sherwood not only finished first with her sister, Aubrey Sherwood, clinging on to dear life in the cow hide race but erased all doubt of her abilities by also having the second-fastest time with another cow hide rider as well. Megan is the daughter of two-time world champion team roper and Pima resident Matt Sherwood. Megan said one of the things she liked most about the Pioneer Days Rodeo was the ability to have her younger sister join in on the events with her.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: From the front, Megan and Aubrie Sherwood rest astride their horse after finishing first in the cow hide race.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Stratton McRae, of Pima, proudly holds the chicken he caught.

“I love rodeo and horses and having it in my life,” Megan said. “I don’t know what I would do without it.”

Megan also took first and second place in the team roping event

While most of the participants hanging onto the cow hide were children, Scott Alder gave it a go with Pima Interim Town Manager Sean Lewis helming the horse. The horse seemed to have another agenda, however, as it gently moseyed its way around the arena instead of racing to the finish.

There were plenty of events for the young children as well, including multi-age group stick horse races and chicken chases, as well as a grab the ribbons off the steer chase for older children.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Scott Alder made it a little more than halfway when the horse quit.

Adult events included ribbon and team roping and the popular cowboy musical chairs. On this take of a childhood game, the chairs are placed at opposite sides of the arena and when the music starts participants get up and mount their horses and ride to the other side to deposit themselves in an empty chair. As the chairs dwindled the competition heated up, but J.J. Alder managed to ride out the win unscathed and take home the prize of a Kainoa’s gift card.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: J.J. Alder is all smiles after taking first place in the Cowboy Musical Chairs competition.

“I love this every year,” Alder said. “It’s fun; we have a good time. (It’s) a good family event. I just hope everybody has a good time out here because we sure do.” 

Rodeo Results

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: An unnamed boy, left, and Brielle Taylor, 11, of Queen Creek display the chickens they caught.

Ribbon Roping

First Place: Dane Robinson and Cherish

Second Place: Dennis and Karen Lines

Third Place: J.J. Alder and Kashlee

Mormon Team Roping

First Place: Megan Sherwood and Chad

Second Place: Megan Sherwood and Dane

Third Place: Dennis Lines and Chad

Cowboy Musical Chairs

First Place: J.J. Alder

Second Place: Dane Robinson

Third Place: Cade Wright

Cowhide Race

First: Megan and Aubrey Sherwood

Second: Megan Sherwood and Ashlie