|From The Bulletin bendbulletin.com
Head on up the road for some bull-riding, barrel-racing, cowboy and cowgirl fun
“Did you hear the one about the rodeo cowboy who got pulled over by the cop?”
It’s Billybob Bruhns on the other end of the line and he seems pleased I haven’t heard it.
“The cop asked, have any ID?”
“About what?” replied the cowboy.
That joke notwithstanding, Billybob Bruhns is a funny guy. And he’s bringing a lighthearted spirit to his job as grand marshal of the 68th annual Sisters Rodeo. The rodeo is set to run tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Sister Rodeo Grounds (see “If you go”).
The weekend promises three days and four performances of bronc riding, barrel racing, roping, steer wrestling and bull riding. The One Arm Bandit returns to Sisters with his daring rodeo act, and there’s the perennially popular parade and Kiwanis Buckaroo Breakfast. And of course, Billybob Bruhns.
Bruhns, who was president of the Sisters Rodeo in 1994 and 1995 and served on its board of directors for 13 years, will lead the parade procession through downtown Sisters on Saturday morning.
And, as in the past, he’ll be at the rodeo grounds each day, overseeing program sales. He’s the right man for a job that involves managing a cadre of youthful volunteers.
“I always look at stuff funny-like,” said Bruhns.
Bruhns is also in charge of cleaning the grounds and dealing with the garbage. One year, he was one of several board members slated to give an oral report on his area of expertise.
“When it came to me, I told them I ordered the garbage and it’s supposed to be here at about 7 o’clock Friday morning,” he quipped.
Bruhns comes into the rodeo season each year with a fresh joke and keeps his volunteer charges laughing.
“I don’t know what I’d do without the Sisters Rodeo,” he said. “It’s like family. It’s the people, the contestants. Rodeo is like a family. We’ve become part of that family.”
Every year, the Sisters Rodeo attracts the nation’s top contestants because it’s the biggest purse in the country that particular weekend, according to Board President Glenn Miller.
This year’s Sisters Rodeo Queen is 19-year-old Kayla Gregory, a Mountain View High School graduate. She was chosen from a field of six based on her speaking ability and riding skills.
John S. Payne — the One Arm Bandit — will give four performances throughout the weekend, one Friday, two Saturday and one Sunday. Payne, who lost an arm in an electrical accident, herds long-horned steers and buffalo on horseback with a bullwhip. With the help of his trained cattle dogs, Payne herds the livestock on to the top of a horse trailer.
The Sisters Rodeo began in 1940 with a $10,000 purse and grew from there, attracting top-notch talent and earning the nickname, “Biggest Little Show in the World.”
Decades later, the town of Sisters becomes rodeo central for about a week each year.
Never been to the Sisters Rodeo?
“For the money, people will get a good show,” said Bruhns. “And good food. It’s very affordable for the family. We actually lowered the price of the program from $5 to $3.”
But it’s more than that for Bruhns.
“The reason I come back each year is it’s like a family reunion,” he said. “And I like the family.”