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By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

About 300 cowboys will compete for money at this year's Chief Joseph Days Rodeo, including former world champions Dan Mortensen and Clint Corey.

The rodeo starts with family night Thursday at 7 p.m., with evening shows also on Friday and Saturday. Sunday's show starts at 2 p.m.

Mortensen was the 1997 world all-around champion and is entered in saddle bronc riding. Corey won the 1991 world bareback riding title.

Chief Joseph Days will also crown a winner for the Harley Tucker Memorial Award, a series that includes contributions from the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show in Union, the St. Paul Rodeo and the Elgin Stampede.

Billy Burt, a bull rider from Missoula, Mont, leads the standings with 9 points, but several competitors have six points from their wins at the three previous rodeos.

Six points are awarded to winners in the various events, with five for second-place showings, four for third and three for fourth. Contestants must be entered in all four rodeos to qualify.

The winner gets about a $1,500 bonus. The next three-time winner claims a rolling pot that now totals more than $7,000.

Nobody actively competing this year has two wins.

Other top cowboys competing this year include three of the top six steer wrestlers in this year's standings: Cash Myers, Todd Suhn and Sid Steiner.

Bareback rider Cody Jessee of John Day is entered; Jessee is among the top five in the world standings and just won the $50,000 round at the Calgary Stampede.

Thursday's show includes a round of mutton busting for children.

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