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West Jordan Journal

Western Stampede Rodeo was a Rip Roarin’ Bustin’ Up Good Time

Aug 04, 2016 03:37PM ● By Mylinda LeGrande

Rodeo Royalty Line up for the Flag Ceremony (photo by Mylinda LeGrande)

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]

West Jordan, Utah - The Western Stampede Rodeo in West Jordan had its inaugural event in 1954. It has been going strong as this city’s tradition over the Fourth of July ever since. This year’s event was no exception. 

Held July 1, 2 and 4, the stampede was headed up by a committee composed of a group of 10 men and women, including Lynn Bowler, rodeo chairman; Nathan Gedge and Mark Wright, co-chairs; Al Richards, concessions chairman; Clive Killpack, entertainment chairman; Marlene Conrad, royalty chair; Kathleen Whiting, princess chair; Jana Bahr, over sponsors; and Sheri and Tracy Michaelis, over ushers and gates.

“I’ve been going to the Stampede for over 40 years, and it just keeps getting better and better,” Mayor Kim Rolfe said. “It’s great family fun and a perfect way to celebrate our nation’s birth. My thanks go out to the many volunteers who bring this show to life and our many generous sponsors who make it possible.”

The Cervi Championship Rodeo and crew were the rodeo’s stock contractor. They supplied horses and bulls, pick-up men and chute help, timed event stock and also coordinated every detail of the show. The Cervi brothers, Binion and Chase, maintain 850 horses and 200 bulls to the rodeos they stock.

Royalty for the 2016 Western Stampede were Dakota Huber, Riverton High School, as Queen; Kelsey Mills, Woods Cross High School, 1st Attendant; and Sierra Goodman, West Jordan High School, 2nd Attendant. The national anthem singers for the show were the Bowler Sisters on opening night, Samantha Adamson on July 2 and Clive M. Killpack on July 4.

Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey, who has 7 million views on YouTube, provided show entertainment. He is a white-headed capuchin monkey known for riding a Border Collie since he was just 2 years old. Whiplash was named Pro Rodeo Entertainer of the Year three separate times. Part of his act includes herding sheep in the arena. In addition to entertaining crowds at rodeos, he was the halftime act at a Miami Heat NBA game, as well as for baseball games for the minor league and for NASCAR. He also started in a series of television advertisements for Taco John’s and appeared on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and ESPN. Whiplash was even knighted in 2009 by the St. Paul Winter Carnival royalty in Minnesota.

Whiplash’s caretaker and trainer is Kenny Petet, who also acted as rodeo clown for this event. He has performed 10 years as a rodeo clown and a bronco rider in Idaho. Petet first got Whiplash four years ago as part of a sale. 

“He is a chill monkey,” Petet said. “If you have ever had one, [know that] they live to be 45–50 years, so you have them the rest of your life. It is like having a 4-year-old toddler in your house. When we built this last place, we never had kids. It is a big house with big vaulted ceilings as high as they go. I spent half the time looking for her and the other half of the time looking for him.  

George Gillespe, bareback rider from Hamilton, Montana, was one cowboy riding on July 2. Some rodeos he’s been to this season are Prescott, Arizona; Cody, Wyoming; and Oakley, Utah. His draw for that night was a mare named Rockstar. 

“I’ve been riding well, but not as good as I was hoping,” Gillespe said. “I am barley on the brinks of everything. I have one horse here that I’m going to have to ride the heck out of, even to have the chance to place. She is a nice horse to ride, just jump-kicks across but nothing treacherous. She is a fun one to get on, but she doesn’t really get up in the air. You want them bucking to get a good score. I hope she has a really good day.” He was hoping to get an 86 that night. Riders and horses are scored 50 points each for their ride. Their score is a total of both out of 100. 

There was also two mutton bustin’ heats on July 2. Libby Gedge took first place, Emma Peterson took second and Zayne Clark took Third. There was even a young contestant from Ukraine. The Little Rippers from Draper performed with their BMX bikes on a large jump. Andy Seiler was the PRCA rodeo announcer, and other rodeo clowns included Weston Rutkowski and Jimmy Lee as bullfighters.

The show was another great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, our cowboy heritage and the West Jordan tradition. λ