Aaron Hammer explodes out of the chute in the ranch saddle bronc event. Photo by Mike Maltais

Aaron Hammer explodes out of the chute in the ranch saddle bronc event. Photo by Mike Maltais

By Mike Maltais

Professional bull and bronc rider Aaron Hammer of Twisp leveraged his single-day appearance at the 43rd annual Methow Valley Labor Day Rodeo into an All-Around title with his score in the ranch saddle bronc event on Sunday.

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Photo by Mike Maltais

It was a bad-news, good-news outing for Hammer when he failed to make the buzzer in the bull-riding event, and then had to pass on saddle bronc when he couldn’t find a loaner saddle with the proper fit. However, Hammer’s fifth-place score of 73 in the ranch saddle bronc was good enough to earn him a $500 payday when that figure, averaged with his previous ride from last May’s Methow Valley Memorial Day Rodeo, totaled 154, enough to win him the All-Around title for both shows.

The 43rd annual Methow Valley Labor Day Rodeo concluded its two-day run Sunday with a less-than-record crowd that watched an impressive turnout of rough-stock riders, barrel racers and mutton busters. Over a dozen cowboys signed up for the ranch saddle bronc event alone.

“I’m heading to Newport [Washington] next,” said Hammer, who will compete in the Rough Stock Invitational Rodeo there on Sept. 13.

Lilly Wallace competed in the mutton busting event. Photo by Mike Maltais

Lilly Wallace competed in the mutton busting event. Photo by Mike Maltais