Roger Nonella

Redmond, Oregon’s Roger Nonella poses with his family after winning the Ellensburg 5 Header with a 65.08 second time on five runs.

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After years of competing in Ellensburg, it was time to come home with a winner’s check and hardware.

Redmond, Oregon’s Roger Nonella modeled consistency all day, coming into the short round as high call and left with the biggest average check with his win at the Ellensburg 5 Header.

Nonella’s 65.08 second aggregate on five runs was nearly three seconds better than Joe Hoffman’s 68.07.

Nonella’s day wasn’t spectacular, unless you consider consistent runs on unknown, fresh cattle spectacular (hint: that’s exactly what it is).

The Oregon calf roper was 13.25 and 13.39 on his first two runs.

“The first one was one of the better calves I had, but I kind of messed up on ‘em a little bit,” he said. “I drew a couple of runners that ran me down the way, I just had to get by ‘em. They were a stronger set, but we got ‘em caught and tied down.”

Despite Nonella finding areas to improve, he was right in the mix after two rounds. Idaho’s Bo Pickett was putting together a clinic, winning both the first and second rounds for $800 apiece with 10.37- and 10.03-second runs for a 20.4-average on two. Nonella’s 26.64 was third, just a tenth ahead of Ellensburg’s Kass Kayser on two.

Nonella’s 12.48-second calf in the third round netted the roper fourth-place money at $365 and kept him in the average mix, still trailing Pickett, whose 12.11 was third for $500. Preston Watson’s 10-second calf was the fastest of the round and the entire day.

Proving that rodeo teaches a nasty lesson or two, the calves didn’t care that Pickett had more than a 6.5-second lead on Nonella going into the fourth round. Pickett’s calf struggled out of the loop during Pickett’s flank and the average leader suffered a no-time. Meanwhile, Ellensburg’s Jason Minor picked up the go-round win with a 10.7-second run and $800. Former Central Washington University roper Trey Recanzone finished third with a 12.3 ($500).

Nonella had a 3.3-second cushion over Hoffman in the finale and once Hoffman roped an 11.33, Nonella had a decent idea how quickly he needed to stop the clock.

“I heard,” he said of the announced time. “I had an idea what I needed to be. I knew I needed to be under 14 or so.”

Less than 12 second later — 11.63 to be exact — Nonella raised both arms to finish his run, overcoming any nerves he had as he backed in the roper box.

“There was a little bit of that,” he admitted of jitters. “I could tell my horse was a little bit tight on that last one, so he must’ve felt something from me. I didn’t think there was any nerves when I backed in there.

“They said that calf was really slow, so I was worried about that start. Once I got ‘em caught I knew I’d just have to flank him and I’d be alright. He wasn’t going to be fast enough to win the round — which I didn’t really need to — but it still would’ve been nice go as fast as you can.”

Ellensburg’s Tucker Braa opened the short round with a 13.3-second calf and Pickett had a chance at redemption in the short round as he earned a spot in the short round’s top 10 in the ninth spot. His 11.74 was the pace for a while until Minor’s 10.71 bested Pickett. In fact, the 10.71 was the best of the round for another $365 for Minor. Jordan Tye, who travels with Minor to amateur and Columbia River Circuit rodeos finished third on the day ($700) with a 70.45 on five.

Nonella’s average win paid the roper $1,400, plus another $365 for his third go. He also picked up another $300 for the side pot average of the third and fourth rounds for a total of $2,065 on the day.

“I’ve had some luck here,” he said of the Ellensburg Rodeo arena. “Never this far, but it’s great, I like this roping. This my kind of deal. You get to run a lot of them. If you get a bad one you just get by ‘em and if you get to run enough of them, you give yourself some chances. These calves are a really good set of calves from Jason Minor. They’re really strong, good calves and held up.

“If you get ‘em all caught and tied down you’re gonna win something. That’s kind of how it works out.”

Pickett earned $2,100 for his two go-round wins and third in the third round. Minor picked up $1,365. Recanzone earned $1,000.

Reeves is the big money winner

Janey Reeves delivered quality runs all day on Saturday and, a hefty paycheck was delivered to her. Reeves placed in three of the five rounds to win the average in 15.33 seconds over five rounds of breakaway action. Her payday put $3,913 in her pocket. The win also qualifies her to travel to Las Vegas for the Rope for the Crown.

Reeves split second in round one, fourth in the second round and split fourth in the fourth round. Her five-round time was more than two seconds ahead of reserve winner Candida Eldridge.

Ellensburg was well represented in the breakaway. Jordan Minor picked up the first round win (2.31 seconds) for $1,000, with Kaycie Kayser’s 2.62 doing the same for a grand in the second round. Annie Minor entered the side pot for the American qualifier and earned top billing with a 10.98-second average.

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