Even a bad day at the rodeo is good

By Marcie Miller

Herald Writer

MONROE — Chris Hayes of Monroe is not having a very good year on the rodeo circuit. Maybe it’s because he put his hat on the bed.

It seems cowboys have a superstitious belief that it’s bad luck to put one’s cowboy hat on a bed. Hayes didn’t know where that idea came from, but he admitted he wasn’t taking any chances.

Hayes rode with two different steer-roping partners Saturday in day two of the Pro-West Rodeo in the indoor equestrian arena at the Evergreen State Fair.

Seated on his horse, Crook, Hayes explained that in steer roping, one cowboy, the "header," attempts to throw a lasso over the horns of the steer, while the partner, the "healer," lassos the rear feet. It’s a feat of split-second timing as the horses, riders and steers all race across the arena in a blur of churning dust and swirling ropes.

On Hayes’ first attempt, he missed the horns, while partner Gerald Bruhn managed to rope the rear feet. On the second try, Hayes was partnered with Mike Wallen of Stanwood. Hayes’ toss was good, but Wallen’s lasso roped only dirt. Neither attempt could be counted by the judges.

Hayes, who works as a farrier when he’s not competing in rodeos, isn’t about to let a little bad luck dampen his love for the sport.

He’s been rodeo riding since he was 7 years old. When he was in high school, his father suggested he choose timed events or rough stock, which includes bareback horse and bull riding.

"With timed events, you get to ride your own horse," he said.

You also don’t get stomped by large, angry animals.

Close to 300 riders will compete for prize money and prestige in events at the rodeo, which continues at 2 p.m. today and Monday at the fair.

The two-hour show includes bareback and saddle bronc riding, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, team roping and barrel racing.

The event is sanctioned by the Professional Western Rodeo Association, with riders from across the Northwest and British Columbia.

Rodeo tickets are $5 general admission, in addition to the fair admission, and are available at the indoor equestrian arena.

You can call Herald Writer Marcie Miller at 425-339-3292

or send e-mail to mmiller@heraldnet.com.

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