- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. (AP) - Randy Thompson is a weekend cowboy and still loves to compete in the rodeo arena.

The 51-year-old Yoncalla resident was among the participants in the first performance of the 33rd annual South Douglas Rodeo recently at the Tri-City Horsemen’s Arena.

Thompson, a self-employed rancher, competed in tie-down roping, team roping and cow milking. A former all-around champion of the South Douglas Rodeo, he didn’t have the best luck with his animals — no times in tie-down roping and team roping and missing a chance to win some money.

Thompson did have the only posted time in cow milking, needing 21.6 seconds to complete the task.

His 12-year-old daughter, Natalie, turned in the third fastest time in breakaway roping at 6.9.

“It’s all about family,” said Thompson, who started competing in rodeo professionally when he was 16. “I can bring my kids, and we can all be involved in something we enjoy. We also furnish cattle for these rodeos. It’s just a bonus to come and have fun, see a lot of friends and watch the kids grow up.”

These days, Thompson has a limited rodeo schedule. His upcoming road trips include performances at Vancouver (Washington), Vale and La Pine. Of course, he’ll be at the Yoncalla Rodeo on July 4-5.

“I used to go to 40-50 a year around the Northwest, but now I go to half that many,” he said. “I don’t travel like I used to. I used to go to Washington, Oregon, Idaho Nevada and California, and now I pretty much stay around home.

“I still get the rush,” he added. “I like the competition. It’s all about having fun, like a lot of people say. I’m living my dream.”

Thompson’s team roping partner was Buck McCay of Eugene. They were paired up for only the second time Saturday. They finished third at the Spray Rodeo on May 23.

“Buck has roped with me at jackpots and kind of got me excited about team roping again. He’s a young kid and has a lot of talent,” Thompson said. “It’s kind of like an honor being asked to rope with him. He’s a good kid.”

Jerry Unruh of Montague, California, and C.J. Crume of Grants Pass were the only one of the seven team roping duos to post a time, clocking 6.7.

Thompson was able to carry out the proper steps in cow milking, while Roseburg’s Colton Gow and McCay fell short.

“(Cow milking) is just like at home, you’re doing it all the time,” Thompson said. “You doctor a crow, milk them out. It’s a fun event for me. It’s something I enjoy doing and I’m very competitive at it.”

Thompson’s brother, Brian, also competed in team roping and cow milking on the final day of the rodeo.

“This rodeo has been going for 30-plus years and I haven’t missed one of them,” Thompson said. “I’ve got a couple of all-around saddles and numerous buckles.”

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Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com

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