Oelrichs Play Day memorializes late top hands in community | TSLN.com

Oelrichs Play Day memorializes late top hands in community

PeeWee Boys

All-Around Champion - Kase Lambert

Reserve All-Around - Roan Simmons

PeeWee Girls

All-Around Champion - Trayley Lambert

Reserve All-Around - Anika Kindred

Jr. Jr. Boys

All-Around Champion - Cooper Glines

Reserve All-Around - Bryce Hoffman

Barrels

1. Jess Wild

2. Cooper Glines

3. Rance Reeves

4. Ropen Pourier

Poles

Cooper Glines

Bryce Hoffman

Teague Edelman

Ropen Pourier

Keyhole

Bryce Hoffman

Cooper Glines

Teague Edelman

Austin Lange

Goats

Jess Wilds

Bryce Hoffman

Cooper Glines

Roudy Shommer

Jr. Jr. Girls

All-Around Champion - Haylee White

Reserve All-Around - Joslyn Pischke

Barrels

Haylee White

Tylee Fish

Brylee Caster

Joslyn Pischke

Poles

Haylee White

Joslyn Pischke

Tylee Fish

Rylan Wild

Keyhole

Tylee Fish

Joslyn Pischke

Haylee White

Cora Austin

Goats

Joslyn Pischke

Haylee White

Rylan Wild/Zoey Suhn

Jr. Boys

All-Around Champion - Aiden Amiotte

Reserve All-Around - Colter Gerard

Flag

Colter Gerard

Rooster Hughson

Aiden Amiotte

Pete Hernandez

Keyhole

Jace Hoffman

Colter Gerard

Wyatt Fransua

Rooster Hughson

Breakaway

Ayden Amiotte

Goats

Rhett Flack

Weston Woodward

Ayden Amiotte

Rooster Hughson

Jr. Girls

All-Around Champion - Jaycee Lambert

Reserve All-Around - Kaylee Juhnke

Barrels

Kaylee Juhnke

Tatum Reid

Porchia Zimga

Sage Dyer

Poles

Tatum Reid

Hattie Haefflin

Jaycee Lambert

Kaylee Juhnke

Breakaway

Ashley Hunter

Jaycee Lambert

Goats

Charlee Trueblood

Tatum Reid

Tomi Reid

Haylee Wild

Sr. Boys

All-Around Champion - Garret Glines

Reserve All-Around - Tristian Hunter

Calf Roping

Tristian Hunter

Cade Lockhart

Garret Glines

Steer Undecorating

Gabe Glines

Cade Lockhart

Marcus Harkless

Garrett Glines

Ribbon Roping

Tristian Hunter

Cade Lockhart

Garret Glines

Team Roping

Garret Glines/Tristian Hunter

Gabe Glines

Sr. Girls

All-Around Champion - Jessica Woodward

Reserve All-Around - Rhiannon Allen

Barrels

Jessica Woodward

Karlee Juhnke

Blair Henry

Rhiannon Allen

Poles

Jessica Woodward

Blair Henry

Jada Rouillard

Rhiannon Allen

Breakaway

Jessica Woodward

Kaitlin Gerard

Rhiannon Allen

Karlee Juhnke

Team Roping

1. Jessica Woodward/Kaitlin Gerard

A decade ago, the Oelrichs Play Day was established to use the arena in southwestern South Dakota more than it was and give the area kids an opportunity to ride one last time before summer ends. This year’s play day memorialized members of the community who had been such an integral part of it throughout the years, including Clay Schnose, who passed away July 19.

“Clay was one of the original reasons we started it,” said event organizer Amy Ferley. “He was 7 or 8 at the first play day.”

His mother, Kim Schnose, was among those who created the event, which was Aug. 24 this year, and her son and husband Bert were among those memorialized by a top hand blanket awarded to Cy Hughson. The award began as the Gene Phillips Memorial, but as more pillars of the community were lost recently, the decision was made this year to encompass others, including the Schnose men, Rex Abbott, Jerry Ferley, along with Phillips.

“Jerry Ferley was always at every practice, and there to watch,” Kim said. “If he saw someone who needed help, he always gave good advice. My husband knew this, and said, ‘If Jerry says something, listen to it and do it.’ I’m touched that my husband and son are included in that caliber of people.”

Marcus Harkless, a senior boy and one of Clay’s peers, was awarded the Clay Schnose Top Hand award, sponsored by Matt and Megan Harkless. The same award, a rope can with Clay’s initials, a cross, and cowboy hat, was awarded to Clay’s cousin Erin Osmotherly during the Fall River County Fair Play Day in Edgemont, South Dakota.

A secret judge quietly watched kids competing searching for those with similar qualities and traits as Clay to award both honors.

“He always gave it his best, he was never angry or never pouted about the fact that he didn’t do as well as he wanted, he just worked that much harder next time,” Kim said. “He was always willing to help when someone asked and was the first to laugh at himself. I think those are all considered good sportsmanship traits.”

At the very first play day, Clay won his first buckle, and Amy recalls the youngster’s profound reaction. He walked up to his granddad and thanked him for allowing him to earn his first buckle. His grandpa had lent him his horse and let him practice in his arena.

“The integrity that such a young kid could show and that never changed for Clay. He was ornery; he could be a stinker; but as an adult in the community, I just admired his work ethic, his kindness, and his integrity,” Amy said. “He truly is the kid I would like to raise.”

Oelrichs Play Day hosts events for all ages, including a stick horse race for the very littlest, ages 0 to 5. The peewees are timed in barrels, poles, flag race, and goat tail untying, then awarded a T-shirt with stick horse silhouettes and “I covered a bad one at the Oelrichs Play Day” on the front, as well as a buckle to the grand champion and a jacket to reserve champion.

“We have quite a few littles and it seems that’s growing every year,” Amy said. “We’ve really gotten to see the kids grow from their stick horses up to now; they’re roping and they’re really cowboys.”

An army of volunteers helps run the play day, Amy said, but more importantly families help make it possible for kids to participate. From dad headed off to help one kid and mom off to help the other, it’s an entire family event.

Rodeo also offers different opportunities than school sports. As the Edgemont School District Superintendent, Amy appreciates that youth get a chance to know the actual person with whom they’re competing.

“From a school perspective, our sports build such a sense of team and camaraderie and competition,” she said. “It’s easy to look at another team as a rival, but in rodeo it’s nice they get to know each other as people. Even though they often compete on the court, they know who that person actually is from competition in the arena.”

Play days also unite youth from the area, making true friends with the same interests, often learning from and encouraging one another at rodeos and events.

“Rural kids can get left out of a lot of things, and the play day is a way for them to get together with kids who have the same passion as far as country roots,” Kim said. “They’re competing against each other but yet cheering for one another.”