Winning an All-Around Title at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo is like helping a little old lady cross the street.
It’s just good karma.
Oakdale Rodeo winners have gone on to accomplish marvelous things in the boggy arena. It’s a fact made evident by the parade of National Finals Rodeo legends proudly listed among the best to compete in the Cowboy Capital of the World.
And nothing says ‘best’ quite like the name Trevor Brazile.
The 10-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association All-Around Champion from Decatur, Texas is to rodeo what Jaws is to sharks. He was already a seven-time PCRA champion when he won the Oakdale Rodeo in 2010, but would go on to win his next three world titles to etch his name into the record books.
Brazile made an appearance at the 2012 rodeo, but couldn’t match the winnings of Oakdale native Ryle Smith, who landed second in tie-down roping and third in steer wrestling to claim $3,391 from a mud-soaked arena.
Smith was the first Oakdale cowboy in over 10 years to take the honor. Turlock’s Blake Hirdes (No. 6 in the PCRA standings as of April 1) had done it 2011 to become only the third California cowboy to claim the honor in over 10 years.
Southern California rodeo star brothers Casey and Luke Branquihno (No. 2 in the world for steer wrestling) landed the honor in consecutive years in 2007 (Casey) and 2008 (Luke). Other recent winners include National Finals Rodeo icons Cody DeMers, Garrett Nokes (won it in 2004 and 2005), Clint Robinson and Joseph Parsons.
It’s an illustrious list of winners and a good place for Smith to be in his young career. The Oakdale cowboy would go on to make the top-20 overall standings in October of 2012 after amassing over $40,000 in winnings.
Smith is expected to vie for the opportunity of becoming only the second cowboy in a decade to win back-to-back All-Around titles.
He will join a field of competitors also expected to host Oakdale’s Daniel Green (two-time World’s Greatest Roper) and former District Five and Oakdale High track and football standout, Bo Bacigalupi. Green should enter action on some serious momentum after claiming a championship and $52,000 in winnings from the prestigious Wrangler Timed Event (non-PCRA competition) on March 3 in Oklahoma.
The timed event is a grueling competition that forces entry in 25 runs of action in team roping-heading, team roping-heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping. With all events combined, Green landed a cumulative time of 313.6 seconds to easily best the runner-up mark by over 30 seconds and claim top prize. He was well ahead of Brazile, who still won $15,000 for third place.
Bacigalupi hasn’t been idle either. The professional bull rider won three rodeos last year, was second in two others and landed top 10 in 12 events. He was second at the Dixie Nationals in Mississippi this year to start 2013 with over $6,000 in winnings (top-50 in the world).
The District Five alumnus made a dramatic appearance at his second-ever PCRA competition during the 2008 Oakdale Rodeo when he was just 18 years old and an OHS senior. His first Oakdale Rodeo ride lasted less than four seconds, but he’s stayed in the thick of things ever since.
“For some guys it just clicks for them to stay on, and everything for me in the last two years has been clicking for me,” Bacigalupi said on April 4. “Riding a bull isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but I have gotten a lot better.”
Baciaglupi has participated in every Oakdale Rodeo since his senior year. He rode out an eight-second seat last year just a week after winning the La Grange rodeo. He returned to La Grange on April 7 to begin his stanza of local appearances.
Bacigalupi said the support of his friends and family, along with the sponsorship of Modesto’s Masellis Drilling enable him to enjoy a career atop burly livestock.
And he’s only getting better.
“I turn 24 this year, and I guess with age I get tired of getting bucked off,” Bacigalupi said. “I’m figuring it out.”