Kelsey Jo Konkright, Miss Rodeo Alaska 2020 of Anchorage, holds up a red flag, preparing to signal the start of an event, Saturday, July 4, 2020 during the Ninilchik Rodeo at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Kelsey Jo Konkright, Miss Rodeo Alaska 2020 of Anchorage, holds up a red flag, preparing to signal the start of an event, Saturday, July 4, 2020 during the Ninilchik Rodeo at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik Rodeo returns to its roots over July Fourth weekend

The annual Ninilchik Rodeo, held every July Fourth weekend, celebrated 60 years this past weekend under blue skies and soaring temperatures at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds.

Kicking off Friday, this year’s rodeo was free to enter and focused on a theme of “rooted in history.”

From barrel races to bull calf riding, the rodeo served up a dose of traditional horsemanship and other rodeo staples.

Rodeo organizers created a break in the action on Saturday to hold a session on the history of the Ninilchik Rodeo, telling stories of its creators and how it got to the present day.

While celebrating its past, the rodeo also continued to reinvent itself with a brand new event this year — horse racing on the beach in Ninilchik.

Other events held throughout the weekend included a bull chariot ride, saddle races, shovel races, a calf scramble for kids, bronc riding, cowboy Olympics, calf riding and a barbecue.

Ninilchik Rodeo results

Results show the top competitors in each category.

Senior Barrel Races — 1. Teresa Bitterich 2. Bridgette Gibson 3. Katy Jones

Senior Pole Bending — 1. Shelby Pawliski 2. Teresa Bitterich 3. Katy Jones

Senior Keyhole — 1. Bridgette Gibson 2. Katy Jones 3. Liz Dubbe

Barrel Races, ages 11-16 — 1. Mackenzie Betts 2. Corin Smith 3. Sophie Tapley 4. Breanna Butchart

Pole Bending, ages 11-16 — 1. Mercedes Tapley 2. Madelyn Barkman 3. Corin Smith 4. Alexa Richards

Keyhole, ages 11-16 — 1. Corin Smith 2. Madelyn Barkman 3. Destini Kitson 4. Jade Campbell

Boot Race — 1. Jade Campbell 2. Laramie Gibson 3. Alexa Richards

Saddle Race, Saturday — 1. Jade Campbell 2. Alexa Richards 3. Breanna Butchart

Saddle Race, Sunday – 1. Liz Dubbe 2. Jade Campbell 3. Alexa Richards

Barrel Races ages 10 and under – 1. Margo Shanahan 2. Loralie Kinney 3. Colten Martin

Pole Bending ages 10 and under — 1. Zephen Jones 2. Margo Shanahan 3. Loralie Kinney

Keyhole ages 10 and under — 1. Leila Fry 2. Loralie Kinney 3. Abeni Jones

Hide Race — 1. Loralie Kinney 2. Colten Martin 3. Aebni Jones

Junior Bull Riding — 1. Alexa Richards 2. Laramie Gibson 3. Cadence Campbell

Rescue Race — 1. Laramie and Bridgette Gibson 2. Corin Smith and Sabrina Wiles 3. Aubry Wold and Janae Nunley

Calf Riding – 1. Zephen Jones 2. Abeni Jones

Ninilchik Beach Horse Race Grand Champion — Cadence Campbell

2020 Ninilchik Rodeo All Around Cowboys and Girls — Senior, Bridgette Gibson; 11-16 age range, Laramie Gibson and Corin Smith; and 0-10 age range, Zephen Jones and Loralie Kinney

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Zephan Jones, of the Homer area, takes a turn riding a bull calf during the 60th annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. The rodeo lasted throughout the July Fourth holiday and celebrated a return to the event’s roots. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Zephan Jones, of the Homer area, takes a turn riding a bull calf during the 60th annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. The rodeo lasted throughout the July Fourth holiday and celebrated a return to the event’s roots. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Katy Jones, of the Homer area, rides her horse Bo through a barrel race Saturday, July 4, 2020 during the Ninilchik Rodeo at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Katy Jones, of the Homer area, rides her horse Bo through a barrel race Saturday, July 4, 2020 during the Ninilchik Rodeo at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Naida McGee, of Anchorage, leads her horse through the barrel race at this year’s Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Naida McGee, of Anchorage, leads her horse through the barrel race at this year’s Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Members of the crowd at this year’s Ninilchik Rodeo cheer during an event Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. The rodeo celebrated 60 years with a “rooted in history” theme. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Members of the crowd at this year’s Ninilchik Rodeo cheer during an event Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. The rodeo celebrated 60 years with a “rooted in history” theme. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Rodeo announcer James Hastings is pulled behind a horse during the shovel race at the annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Rodeo announcer James Hastings is pulled behind a horse during the shovel race at the annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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