Chasing The Reunion Championship

 Chasing The Reunion Championship
The weekend recap from The 28th Annual Josey Ranch Reunion

MARSHALL, TX – To Josey students there is one title that holds a special significance, and that is the Josey Reunion Championship. The 28th annual Josey Reunion is hosted every year in Marshall Texas, by World Champions R.E. and Martha Josey. This annual event draws contestants from across the world to compete as Josey Students in the Reunion Barrel Race.

This year the ranch hosted 431 contestants from 15 different states. For some this is a title they chase every year, including Waskom barrel racer Sheryl Gamboa.

Gamboa has been attending Josey Clinics since she was eight years old and has run in the Josey Reunion for many years. In 2020 she claimed the Josey Reunion Reserve Championship title, but this year she was after the Championship. Riding her four-year-old partner, Starrin Baby Rose, Gamboa claimed the title with a 16.154 in the Purina Shoot Out.

Before the championship runs action began Thursday night with the merican Hat Company 3D Pole Bending competition. Contenders charged down the Josey alleyway for their chance at the Pole Bending Championship and a set of Josey Pole Bases. Aspen Grant from Buna, TX riding PC Frosted Freedom claimed the champion title with a 20.452.

The Josey Reunion Barrel Race had 431 entries from 16 states vying for the Champion title with the champion taking home a Big Tex trailer. Each Division winner received a Shea Michelle custom belt buckle, Circle Y saddle, an American hat, and 500 pounds of Purina feed. They also received other sponsor prizes from Med Vet Pharmaceuticals (MVP), custom 5 Star saddle pads, Draw It Out product, Flair Strips, and much more.

At Josey events the format for the qualifying rounds is to drag every 5 draws, big pack every 50, and reverse the order for the second go. “This format is not designed to run 50+ every hour,” stated Josey announcer Randy Adams from Cookeville, TN. “It is designed to give every contestant an equal opportunity on the ground instead of it being just a draw contest”. 

The championship barrel races at the Josey Ranch were the first to drag at less than 10 runners, and the first place to use more than one tractor in the arena.

As the sun rose each morning over the piney woods of East Texas, the Josey Reunion started the day as they always do, by flying the Stars and Stripes and an opening prayer followed by the National Anthem. Colors were presented by Amanda Schenck, a member of the Six White Horses Drill Team from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, TX.

The Circle Y Saddlery first round action was intense and saw former Reunion champion Pete Oen from Maysville, OK take the top two qualifying spots, first was on VC Go Go Fling with a time of 16.021, the fastest time of the weekend, 2nd in the 1st Division was Pete Oen riding Margarita Red Rita with a time of 16.215.

Day two of qualifying was sponsored by Priefert Rodeo and Ranch Equipment and started with “America, Why I Love Her” by John Wayne and the flag was presented by Miss Rodeo Texas Bobbi Loran from Scotland, TX. This was followed by the opening prayer and our National Anthem. When the dust settled, Brynn Hinton from Waxahachie, TX riding Legs Gone Wild stopped the clock at 16.148 for the top spot.

Steve Tucker, President of Circle Y Saddlery, presented Martha Josey a commissioned original painting of Martha making a competition run matted by hand tooled leather and a medallion, to commemorate Martha’s induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, CO. and in appreciation of all she and R.E have done for the sport of barrel racing.

Saturday wrapped up with a pony barrel race sponsored by Draw It Out. Harper Knuckles and her pony G-ray took the title with a 17.374. The pony race was followed by a new event – Rope and Run. Rope and Run is a team event with one person roping a dummy calf from the Priefert Speed Trainer then the other partner running a condensed barrel pattern. Time starts when the roper nods and stops when the runner crosses the finish line. While not a rodeo event this was fun for contestants and spectators alike. Brianna Woodmansee and Austin McCalister took the first annual Rope ‘N’ Run Championship title.

Championship Sunday always begins with a church service in the main arena followed by the awarding of scholarships. This year the scholarships were in honor of; Sandy Smith awarded to Dandy Smith, Thomas Mitchell awarded to Jaden Thomas, and Bobby Arthur awarded to Ashton Padon. There was also the presentation of the Sonny Bit O’ Both Horse with the Most Heart

Award. This year’s recipient was DC Dualin Eagles (Cujo) owned and ridden by Faith Gilbreath.

For the Championship Purina Shootout on Sunday the qualifiers from the previous 2 days run from the slowest qualifying time to the fastest. In this format to ensure each contestant has the best possible ground the arena crew drags every 2 draw positions. The short go is a “clean slate” barrel race with no times carried forward from the qualifying rounds.

Following the presentation of Johnny Cash’s “The Ragged Old Flag” and the opening prayer, Keaton Bradberry sang our National Anthem as Miss Rodeo Texas Bobbi Loran presented the colors.

145 qualifiers from 12 different states competed with the title on the line in the Purina Shootout. Last year’s reunion reserve champion, Sheryl Gamboa from Waskom, TX riding Starrin Baby Rose took the lead with 38 competitors left and held on to claim the title. The 2nd Division champion was Bryana Woodmansee from Preston Park, PA with a time of 16.669 aboard AH Miss Cowgirl. The 3rd Divison was won by Catherine Medlock on Eye N Easy. The El Dorado, AR cowgirl stopped the clock at 17.183 for the win. The 4th Division champion title went to the Bluegrass State as Rilee Leasor from Rineyville, KY riding Cesico stopped the clock in a time of 18.276.

It was a great weekend of competition, reuniting with old friends and making new friends – everything a reunion is supposed to be. “Martha and I always try to keep up with our students and their accomplishments both in and out of the arena,” explained R.E. Josey. “Once you are a ‘Josey Kid’ you are always one of ours”. Plans are underway for the 29th annual Josey Ranch

Reunion Roundup as the event will move back to the traditional time in May of 2022.

For complete results of 2021 Josey Reunion, please visit http://www.barrelracers.com.

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