WORLD LEADERS DESCEND ON CJD

July 24, 2001 11:00 pm
WORLD LEADER: Kelly Wardell of Bellevue, Idaho, rides bareback on his way to a second-place score at last year's Chief Joseph Days Rodeo. Wardell won $1,717 in Joseph in 2000 and leads the world standings this year. (The Observer file photo/C.J. GISH).
WORLD LEADER: Kelly Wardell of Bellevue, Idaho, rides bareback on his way to a second-place score at last year's Chief Joseph Days Rodeo. Wardell won $1,717 in Joseph in 2000 and leads the world standings this year. (The Observer file photo/C.J. GISH).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Two cowboys leading this years world rodeo standings will take their talents this week to the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo.

Calf roper Blair Burk and bareback rider Kelly Wardell will take a shot at a purse worth more than $35,000.

The rodeo has 7 p.m. performances Thursday through Saturday and a 2 p.m. show Sunday.

Burk, from Durant, Okla., has more than $83,000 in winnings this season, $18,000 more than second-place Trevor Brazile.

Wardell, likewise, has a large lead over second-place Forest Bramwell, who is also entered in Joseph this week. Wardell, of Bellevue, Idaho, has $74,250 in winnings to Bramwells $51,803.

Five of the top 10 bareback riders are scheduled to appear in Joseph this weekend, making that competition one of the rodeos strongest.

Its really scattered around as far as some of the really top talent in every event, said rodeo organizer John Bailey.

Four of the top 10 saddle bronc riders are also scheduled to compete, led by second-place Glen ONeill of Water Valley, Alberta. ONeill won more than $12,000 earlier this month at the Calgary Stampede and enters Joseph with $96,166 in winnings.

Third-place Dan Mortensen won $3,200 at the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah, on July 14 and has $65,357 in saddle bronc winnings this season.

Chief Joseph Days drew 328 entries this year, down from last years 366 but still the second-highest total in rodeo history, Bailey said. The four-performance rodeo has to compete with the final four days of Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, the third-largest rodeo in the country.

Bobby Mote, the Redmond cowboy who won $1,396 in June at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show in Union, has already won $3,445 in Cheyenne with another round to go. Mote is entered in Joseph.

The biggest competition in barrel racing wont be among world standings leaders but between two Northwest riders looking for a bonus. Debbie Stahl of Pendleton leads the Harley Tucker Memorial Award standings with 11 points, with Columbia River Circuit leader Kelli Currin of Dayton, Wash., right behind at 10.

A win gets six points in the standings, and the series winner gets a $1,450 bonus. The series includes the Livestock Show, the St. Paul Rodeo and the Elgin Stampede.

The leading steer wrestler in this years field is Bryan Fields of Conroe, Texas, in third place in the world with $53,777 in earnings. Bull rider Lee Akin of Weatherford, Okla., is fifth in the world standings with $47,784 in winnings, with sixth-place Vince Stanton of Weiser, Idaho, right behind at $46,481.

Cash Myers of Athens, Texas, is entered in both calf roping and steer wrestling; he stands in fifth place in the world all-around standings at $75,089.