Derek Wiley
The Bulletin

PRINEVILLE — Coy Aldrich won his first high school rodeo state championship last month in Powell Butte.

On Saturday at the Crook County Fairgrounds in Prineville, the Culver junior will compete for two more state titles.

Aldrich, who won the reined cow horse state championship in May, was leading in both the all-around and team roping standings heading into this weekend’s Oregon High School Rodeo Association state finals.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to go in on top,” said Aldrich, who began accruing points in August in the first of eight OHSRA competitions. “Every year I’ve always been fourth or fifth (entering finals weekend) and had to fight for my spot at the top and to be able to come in first and have a pretty good lead coming in, I can kind of do my job and feel like there’s not a ton of pressure, and let the cards fall where they fall.”

Aldrich is one of 17 members of the Tri-County Rodeo Club — which includes cowgirls and cowboys from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties — competing in the OHSRA state three-day finals, which got underway Thursday.

Aldrich has been attending rodeos for as long as he can remember. His mother, Bobbi, and father, Trevor, both competed through the Northwest Pro Rodeo Association and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. His grandparents, Buster and Deanne Bain, are part owners of the Powell Butte-based B-Bar-D Rodeo Company, and his older sister, Kaylee Aldrich, won a high school state title in breakaway roping in 2015 and then went on to compete for the Blue Mountain Community College team in Pendleton.

Coy Aldrich started junior rodeo when he was 3 years old, participating in kid-friendly events such as stick horse barrel racing, dummy roping, live calf heeling and sheep riding.

“I was raised with a rope in my hand,” Aldrich said. “We always had horses and a bunch of cows. I grew up around it. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Aldrich lives next door to professional rodeo cowboy Russell Cardoza, who has PRCA career earnings of more than $1.19 million. Aldrich said he works nearly every day with Cardoza, whose events include team roping and tie-down roping as well as steer wrestling.

“It’s been pretty cool to go over there with a guy of that caliber at the top of his game and rope with him,” Aldrich said.

Aldrich’s parents raise commercial cows and currently have about 300 head of cattle on their ranch in Culver. When Aldrich is not rodeoing, he is taking care of his own 40 registered Angus cows (the first of which he purchased when he was 11 years old) and selling the bulls to local ranchers for breeding.

The OHSRA state finals run through Saturday; the top 20 cowboys and cowgirls in their respective events competed in the first round Thursday. Friday’s second round begins at 6 p.m. The top 10 in each event will then compete Saturday starting at noon, and state champions will be crowned. The top four qualify for nationals July 14-20 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Aldrich has participated in nationals in team roping the past two years.

Aldrich and team roping partner Brayden Schmidt, who lives in Benton City, Washington, but was granted a waiver to compete in Oregon, took a 77-52 lead over their nearest challengers into the state finals. But Aldrich is competing on a new horse, named Hollywood, after his regular horse, Mr. T., slipped while competing in an NPRA rodeo in Spray two weeks ago and strained a tendon in his front left leg. Aldrich is borrowing Hollywood from a family friend, Cody Every.

“He’s like a second father,” Aldrich said of Every. “He’s been my saving grace. I couldn’t ask any more from that family, what they’ve done for me. I’ve only rode him (Hollywood) a couple of times in practice, but he’s a super great horse.”

Aldrich is competing in two more events this weekend. He enters the state finals eighth in tie-down roping and 12th in steer wrestling.

High school rodeo is a small part of Aldrich’s rodeo schedule. Since May, he has been competing through the NPRA nearly every weekend. This summer, he plans to participate in rodeos at both the Deschutes and Jefferson county fairs.

After high school, he wants to take part in college rodeo and join the PRCA.

“Rodeo is a way of life,” Aldrich said. “My parents provided everything in the world that I ever needed to be better. That’s for dang sure.”

­­— Reporter: 541-383-0307, dwiley@bendbulletin.com

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