WALLA WALLA - If coaching a rodeo team isn't work enough, Walla Walla Community College's Buster Barton has even more on his plate this week.
The Warrior rodeo team is hosting the 43rd annual WWCC College Rodeo this weekend at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Indoor Arena.
"It's busy, it's our home rodeo," Barton said. "We have to produce it, so it's a coaching struggle, as well."
But having the 12-team Northwest Region Rodeo at 7 p.m. Friday night and the College Rodeo at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday with final go at noon Sunday in WWCC's home arena makes the effort a little easier.
"It's our home court, so to speak, so we expect to do well," Barton said. We've got a young team. We had a good winter of practice, so I expect big things, for sure."
Barton said the 40-person Warrior squad hasn't taken a day off from practice since late last September, and while WWCC lost a lot of sophomores off last year's team in which the men won the region and the women were third, they've reloaded this season.
"We've got quite a few freshmen," Barton said. "We brought in a great group of freshmen. We're young, but I see a ton of talent not only for this year but for next year, too."
The Warriors have a history of success, winning the national title in 2008 and finishing in the top 10 in six of Barton's eight years with WWCC.
"I stepped into an established program," Barton said. "We've got good support from WWCC."
Local cowboys leading the way for the Warriors this season include Touchet's Bryce Palmer in tie-down roping and team roping, Touchet's Bo Segerman in saddle bronc, steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down, and Walla Walla's Jamie Thomas, who is running barrels.
Action begins with a free slack session at 9 a.m. Friday, followed by the Northwest Region Rodeo in the indoor arena at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the annual Cowboy Breakfast runs from 8-11 a.m., with a free Kid's Rodeo at 9:30 a.m. and the College Rodeo at 1 and 7 p.m.
On Sunday, rodeo action concludes at noon.
WWCC Rodeo Schedule
Slack, 9 a.m. free
Northwest Region Rodeo No. 2, 7 p.m.
Cowboy Breakfast, 8-11 a.m., $6 for adults, $4 for kids and seniors, pre-schoolers free, $15 for a family pass.
Kid's Rodeo, 9:30 a.m. (free)
College Rodeo, 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
College Rodeo Finals, Noon.
College rodeo is $8 for adults at the gate and $5 for kids and seniors; advance tickets $7 adults, $4 kids and seniors, $18 for families. Available in Walla Walla at Sterling Savings Bank, L&G Ranch Supply, New York Store, Super One, Walla Walla Harvest Foods and the WWCC Bookstore, and in Milton-Freewater at Bordertown Feed & Supply and Saager Shoe Shop.