When the summer sun dips behind the hill and the lights come on at the 2017 Lake Chelan Rodeo, spectators will be in for a treat. Ranch Bronc Riding will be the first event of each performance on Friday and Saturday night, Aug 4-5.
The Rodeo will feature all the traditional events of Bareback Riding, Saddlebronc Riding, Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Team Roping Breakaway Roping, and Barrel Racing, and organizers believe that spectators will love the Ranch Bronc Riding.
It is sanctioned by the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association and is open to working cowboys from all over the Western US. The rules of ranch bronc riding are a little different.
- First, to ride in the ranch bronc riding you have to employed on a working cow ranch as either a full-time or day working cowboy.
- Second, the cowboy rides with a stock saddle not an association saddle.
- Third, the cowboy may ride with two hands on the bronc rein or one on the rein and one on his rope or nightlatch.
- Fourth, the cowboy is required to stay on for 10 seconds instead of the usual 8 seconds. Cowboys can earn more points for fanning the bronc with their hat.
“It’s going to western, wild, and wooly,” said Rod Cool, Lake Chelan Rodeo Production Manager. “It’s a chance to see the old west come alive right before your very eyes.”
After the Grand Entry has left the arena, the Anthem played, the Cowboy’s Prayer said, and that first chute cracks at the Lake Chelan Rodeo, the two men responsible for the keeping you on the edge of your seat are the award winning duo of Mel Layton and Mark McMillan.
Twenty years ago they formed Layton and McMillan Rodeos. They provide the stock for 15 to 18 rodeos a year all over the Northwest. Each partner brings something special to the table.
Mel Layton makes his home in Elk, Washington with his wife Susie. Bulls have been a passion of his since he was a young man. Mel competed in the bull riding for a number of years and now, to stay involved in the sport, he has been buying and raising bucking bulls of his own. Bucking the bulls on Thursday nights at his home helps Mel weed out the bulls that don’t buck and keep only the ones with potential.
“Mel has received many awards from the Pro-West for bucking bull of the year over the years,” Cool said. “Mel also has many bulls that he has sent up to the PBR ranks that have made it to the PBR finals in Las Vegas. When Mel Layton brings bulls to a rodeo you can be sure that you will be getting some of the best in the northwest. Mel’s passion shines through.”
Mark McMillan, his wife Lynette, and their 10 children, Caleb, Riley, Hanna, Nick, Davey, Josh, Zane, Josie, Landon, and new baby Ace; reside in Soap Lake, Washington where they raise bucking horses. Mark came through the ranks of rodeo riding bucking horses. Now he is focusing his attention on raising them. He started out buying saddle horses that were bucking people off and now has over 40 brood mares raising his future bucking horses.
His whole family is involved in the operation and all take pride in the horses and how they buck. They have earned multiple Pro-West Saddle Bronc and Bareback Horse of the Year awards. They strive to have a nice set of bareback horses and broncs that the cowboys like to ride and please the crowd as well. The McMillan’s pride and love of their bucking horses can be seen in the way the horses look and perform.
“When you bring Layton and McMillan together, you are getting the best of both worlds—Rank Bulls and Outstanding Bucking Horses,” Cool said. “Rodeo is their passion and well has their livelihood and they want to do everything they can to ensure the future of the sport. They will give you their best every time.”
So don’t miss this opportunity to travel back in time and capture the spirit of west at the 2017 Lake Chelan Rodeo August 4 – 5, 2017, at the Chelan Rustler’s Arena.
(By Rod Cool, Lake Chelan Rodeo Production Manager)